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MaxE
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13 Jan 2022, 8:38 pm

Sealioning: What It Is, Why It's Obnoxious and What You Can Do About It

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Not too long ago I was on a friend’s Facebook page who had posted a meme or cartoon about Donald Trump being racist. This inspired one of his friends to comment that he was certainly no fan of Donald Trump, and found him abrasive on a personal level but that calling someone racist was a very serious accusation and he would need to see some solid, concrete evidence from objective sources before he would consider the possibility, in 2020, that Donald Trump might be racist.

What made this stance maddening was that the commenter was pretending to operate in good faith. He presented himself as someone who was no fan of Trump, and someone who would certainly be open to having his opinion of the president changed in the face of overwhelming, irrefutable evidence.


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Dox47
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13 Jan 2022, 8:59 pm

The whole concept of sealioning is bogus, it's another trick people use to try to get out of an argument without actually having to argue. Invoking it is almost as annoying as that dumb XKCD cartoon some people insist on posting every time free speech comes up, what I call stupid internet tricks.


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League_Girl
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14 Jan 2022, 12:45 am

Erm I'm going to need to see evidence and sources of people sealioning.


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Dox47
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14 Jan 2022, 1:03 am

League_Girl wrote:
Erm I'm going to need to see evidence and sources of people sealioning.


Ooh, you almost got me with that, I was literally typing out an explanation when it hit me. :lol:


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Mona Pereth
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14 Jan 2022, 10:07 am

There is certainly such a thing as people arguing in bad faith, e.g. people who pretend to be "neutral," when in fact they hold rather extreme opinions. Such people can be extremely annoying.

However, simply asking for evidence is one of the more harmless manifestations of this -- at least up to a point. I think it's a good thing for all of us to be reminded to examine the evidence for and against our opinions now and then.


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Fnord
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14 Jan 2022, 10:17 am

Dox47 wrote:
The whole concept of sealioning is bogus, it's another trick people use to try to get out of an argument without actually having to argue. Invoking it is almost as annoying as that dumb XKCD cartoon some people insist on posting every time free speech comes up, what I call stupid internet tricks.
Sealioning: A subtle form of trolling involving "bad-faith" questions.  You disingenuously frame your conversation as a sincere request to be enlightened, placing the burden of educating you entirely on the other party.  If your bait is successful, the other party may engage, painstakingly laying out their logic and evidence in the false hope of helping someone learn.  In fact you are attempting to harass or waste the time of the other party, and have no intention of truly entertaining their point of view.  Instead, you react to each piece of information by misinterpreting it or requesting further clarification, ad nauseum.  The name "sea-lioning" comes from a Wondermark comic strip.

Source:
 This Urban Dictionary Entry 

Image
The Relevant Webcomic



League_Girl
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14 Jan 2022, 12:34 pm

Ugh, I might have fallen for this trap. TERFS for example will feign ignorance and pretend they want to understand so they ask questions. But their intent is to twist your answers and try and get you to contradict yourself and try and make you look stupid.

Look. It is not our job to educate people. If they really want to be educated and want to understand, they will seek the information out themselves. Don't waste your time with sources that are easily out there.


Plus I look up sources myself if someone claims something. If I am in the mood, I will post a url to "let me google that for you" and type it in and boom, bunch of results pop up about sources that talk about a link between anorexia and autism when someone said they wanted a source to it. It is up for them if they want to believe that information or think it's a hoax made up by a bunch of fake doctors.


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Last edited by League_Girl on 14 Jan 2022, 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Fnord
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14 Jan 2022, 12:43 pm

↑ I used to fall for this kind of trap when it has been set by one of those "I can't get a date" types in L&D, by people who worship talk radio hosts, and by backers of narcissistic and abusive ex-presidents.  Not any more, though.

They're all the same, posting their crap just for the attention and to aggravate others -- not to actually discuss anything.  Then they complain about their "rights" being violated when they get spanked for it.



Mona Pereth
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14 Jan 2022, 2:05 pm

League_Girl wrote:
Look. It is not our job to educate people. If they really want to be educated and want to understand, they will seek the information out themselves. Don't waste your time with sources that are easily out there.

Hmmm, I still think that if someone makes a claim, it should --usually -- be that person's responsibility to back up the claim.

The one exception I would make to this rule is for someone who is a member of a long-marginalized minority group, talking about an issue pertaining to that group. In that case, people of more-privileged groups should do some Googling before asking for clarification, to avoid unnecessarily burdening the person who made the complaint. Even then, it would be GOOD if the person making the complaint would provide sources too, but I wouldn't demand it.

League_Girl wrote:
Plus I look up sources myself if someone claims something.

A good thing to do, but the claims-maker should provide sources too.

After all, alas, different people's Google searches are not created equal. Google's algorithm customizes searches to the person doing the search.


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Dox47
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14 Jan 2022, 2:41 pm

Fnord wrote:
Sealioning: A subtle form of trolling involving "bad-faith" questions.  You disingenuously frame your conversation as a sincere request to be enlightened, placing the burden of educating you entirely on the other party.  If your bait is successful, the other party may engage, painstakingly laying out their logic and evidence in the false hope of helping someone learn.  In fact you are attempting to harass or waste the time of the other party, and have no intention of truly entertaining their point of view.  Instead, you react to each piece of information by misinterpreting it or requesting further clarification, ad nauseum.  The name "sea-lioning" comes from a Wondermark comic strip.

Source:
 This Urban Dictionary Entry 

Image
The Relevant Webcomic


Yes, I'm familiar, it's still bogus, a new gloss on an old excuse to get out of backing up your statements. It's just a fancy way of claiming bad faith, ironically often used in bad faith itself by people who want to make controversial claims and not bother to defend them.


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Mona Pereth
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14 Jan 2022, 3:07 pm

Dox47 wrote:
Yes, I'm familiar, it's still bogus, a new gloss on an old excuse to get out of backing up your statements. It's just a fancy way of claiming bad faith, ironically often used in bad faith itself by people who want to make controversial claims and not bother to defend them.

In at least some cases I agree with this.

If Socrates were alive today in the U.S.A., he wouldn't be sentenced to death, but he would accused of "Sealioning."


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VegetableMan
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14 Jan 2022, 3:14 pm

I thought it might be some kind of sexual thang.

"Hey, Baby! Wanna come to my place for a little...sealioning?"


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uncommondenominator
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14 Jan 2022, 4:21 pm

Fnord wrote:
↑ I used to fall for this kind of trap when it has been set by one of those "I can't get a date" types in L&D, by people who worship talk radio hosts, and by backers of narcissistic and abusive ex-presidents.  Not any more, though.

They're all the same, posting their crap just for the attention and to aggravate others -- not to actually discuss anything.  Then they complain about their "rights" being violated when they get spanked for it.


Particularly good "sealions" know how to take something you said, and turn it into a question you didn't even ask, or a statement you didn't even make, to then demand evidence be presented.

How long do you suppose it will be before someone says "this is a fake overused thing, but it's totally what you're doing"? A week? Maybe two? Then we can add it to the list of things which both are and aren't real - like fascism, and gaslighting.

Well, good. If sealioing isn't real, then it should be ok to ask for evidence. Because asking for evidence, if it exists, furthers the conversation, rather than ending it. Providing said evidence, if it exists, then furthers the conversation even more.

So far we've been told that sealioning isn't real. I'd love to see some evidence of that. But that might be tricky. Cos that's a negative statement. And it's pretty commonly known that negative statements can't be disproven - "prove to me you don't beat your kids". "Prove that sealioning isn't real" seems like it falls into the same category. Taking the stance that "sealioning isn't real" seems like a safe, if not weak position, if for no other reason than how it would have to be counter-argued.

OTOH , there's quite a few examples of what sealioning IS, and a few real-world examples of having encountered it. It would seem that the evidence-based approach would favor counter-arguments, with evidence, to counter those positive claims that sealioning does exist. Ideally with evidence or explanations as to why it is not sealioning - something more than "no it isn't".



DanielW
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14 Jan 2022, 4:37 pm

All you need to remember is that you don't owe a random stranger any explanations and its only your job to provide additional information if you truly want to. Random strangers are seldom worth the time or the energy.



League_Girl
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14 Jan 2022, 6:20 pm

Quote:
Hmmm, I still think that if someone makes a claim, it should --usually -- be that person's responsibility to back up the claim.


Except people aren't often making an argument and you are the choosing to see it an an argument so when you decide to go "source" me, I just assumer you're lazy and I will pull the "let me google that for you" crap and you will be referred to here:

https://lmgtfy.app/?q=let+me+google+this+for+you

Also lot of times when people want to do "source" you, they are not doing it in good faith. They are just doing it to dismiss you and I am not going to spend 5 hours trying to find a specific article to prove I really read it somewhere or try and find a story that took place in 1995 where a 10 year old boy did kill his 5 year old sister out of jealousy and I could never find that story again. But I do remember it being in the news on TV. But if someone out there wants to think I am making this up, they can go ahead and think this.


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League_Girl
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14 Jan 2022, 6:23 pm

Please provide the source where sealioning isn't real. If you want to make this claim, it is your job to provide a source for this to back up your argument.

Quote:
The one exception I would make to this rule is for someone who is a member of a long-marginalized minority group, talking about an issue pertaining to that group. In that case, people of more-privileged groups should do some Googling before asking for clarification, to avoid unnecessarily burdening the person who made the complaint. Even then, it would be GOOD if the person making the complaint would provide sources too, but I wouldn't demand it.


Source please, it is your job to back this up wince you make this argument please.


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Last edited by League_Girl on 14 Jan 2022, 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.