I encountered the term for the first time today in a post at Explain Like I'm Five. Here are some comments from that thread:
It's a false pretense of an honest debate, it's very common in social media and basically a sub-set of trolling. Basically the troll constantly peppers the victim with seemingly sincere requests for further discussion, further evidence, further reasoning without any desire to actually engage in a good-faith conversation. They're just trying to pester and annoy the victim to the point of frustration. If at any point the victim seeks to leave the cycle of debate the troll will declare victory, they they are actually the genuine "thinker" and that the victim was the troll or fool or wrong.Wow, I had no idea this has a name. It's a pattern I learned to recognize after years on politics Twitter, and it made me trigger-happy to flee a conversation at the slightest whiff. I have no way to prove it, but it feels like a lot of people who do this don't fully realize what they're doing - they've just stumbled upon the technique and realized it allowed them to "win" just about any debate through sheer hardheaded endurance. It's essentially just a variant of gaslighting.It's also very successful as a performance, which is why you see it so much on Twitter or other discussions that feel more "public facing" than a comment buried 9 tiers deep in a Reddit threat. Not only do you "win," but people who are watching walk away thinking the other guy was a liar because he couldn't answer your questions. That's a big part of why the alt-right loves it in particular, because almost all alt-right debates are intended to be performative. They want to change the minds of the people who are watching - they already know they probably can't change the mind of the person who is informed enough to know better.Another term people use is JAQing off. "Just Asking Questions"
The cartoon embedded above is said to be the original source for the "sealion" reference.
Addendum: a tip of the blogging cap to reader Bicycle Rider for locating Welcome to Advanced Trolling: Sealioning.
I can't believe that comic is almost nine years old now. http://wondermark.com/1k62/ReplyDelete
David Malki has been teasing a new site for a year now. I hope he comes back.
Thank you for the gentle reminder that I forgot to add the cartoon link. Fixed. :.)ReplyDelete
As someone wrote on the Reddit thread: "the quote from the Wikipedia entry says it best: 'Sealioning has been likened to a denial-of-service attack targeted at human beings.'"ReplyDelete
I fear that my sincere questions have been taken for this here "sealioning" before. For instance, I have went to Flat Earth sites and Atheist sites and I have--and I'm being absolutely honest here--asked polite questions, but have been mocked, derided, castigated, and even cursed.ReplyDelete
I think that "sealioning" may be fake. What if, for instance, I am asking sincere questions that show the shallowness or foolishness of a positions, but rather than admit to how feeble their beliefs are, they instead choose to act as if I am sealioning? (I never heard the word before, but I have experienced the same sort of thing, I believe.)
The same with Trump. Yes, Trump lost in 2020. Yes, Trump is a living, breathing jerk, apparently. But, well, unlike most presidents, he actually did deliver on a few things he promised. Consider how Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II never delivered on abortion. But Trump did.
I know that not everyone likes that, of course. But Trump voters surely did. And when I bring that sort of thing up--as politely as a sea lion--oh, the angst, sturm und drang, the heavenly beseechments, the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth!
You get the idea. I think some people simply cannot accept that others don't see things their way.
Maybe "getting a kick out of making people realize their position is shallow or foolish" can be described as a variety of sealioning as well. Or Socrates-ing, if you like. Be careful next time someone offers you a cup of their "special herbal tea" ;)Delete
Gee whiz, your reply has a "sealion-ish" quality to it. The tenor of your remarks reminds me very much of an acquaintance who has become joyless to engage with. He doesn't lose arguments. He loses friends.Delete
And this is what I'm talking about. When we speak sincerely, it is claimed we are sealioning.Delete
When I asked questions from the Flat Earth and Atheist forums, it is me trying to find out if they have good reason to believe the way they do. If so, perhaps I can learn from it.
@ AaronS: And what would count as "good reason" in your book?Delete
Come prepared or don't say dumb things, if you're worried about a sealion it's because you're a krill-brain.ReplyDelete
Yeah, I'd agree that fits the definition very nicely. It wasn't /mistaken/ for sealiony behaviour - it was.ReplyDelete
"troll" = is that a 'flamer' on the internet in days of yore?ReplyDelete
I do appreciate that we've /got/ a sealion on a thread about sealioning, demonstrating [very nicely too] how it's done. @Anon above - no, a 'troll' is deliberately provocative (a significant part of trolling it is trying to trick non-trolls into arguing with one another), while a 'flamer' is just abusive. They're not the same, and tend not to overlap, because if you mix trolling and flaming you stop getting the engagement that the troll part is after.ReplyDelete
A nice précis by someone who probably spends way too much time on the internet.Delete
A short course on sealioning:ReplyDelete
Outstanding. I've added the link to the body of the post, with credit.Delete