Sealioning is a type of trolling or harassment which consists of pursuing people with persistent requests for evidence or repeated questions while maintaining a pretense of civility and sincerity. The sealion feigns ignorance and politeness so that if the target is provoked into making an angry response, they can then act as the aggrieved party. Flat-Earthers and adherents of other pseudoscience often employ sealioning to harass others.
These are some tips to deal with a potential sea lion.
Avoid providing an in-depth answer unless we are confident the other party is not a sea lion. Redirect the other party to general references, like Wikipedia, or what we are providing, where they can find their answer on their own and learn more about it. An honest person will gladly accept such a response, while a sea lion will be annoyed and insist that we provide the answer ourselves. Unlike an honest person, a sea lion does not seek to understand.
If they claim to have read the references but still unsatisfied, direct them to follow up on the references section. Wikipedia and most of our articles provide references where interested parties can read more about the topic.
Keep civil. Sometimes a seemingly annoying question can be an honest question. And maybe it just we are being tired from the actions of previous sea lions. Even if the other party is a sea lion, our answer can still be useful for others. Instead of providing the answer directly, it is better to write it somewhere, so that someone else looking for the answer can read it. And the next time someone asks, we can conveniently direct them to the already written response.
Avoid answering when angry. We always have the option to ignore the sea lions or to tell them to look the answer elsewhere. By ignoring them, sea lions cannot declare victory without revealing their dishonest intentions. But if we get angry, they can easily use it against us.
- Sealioning – Wikipedia
- ‘Sealioning’ Is A Common Trolling Tactic On Social Media–What Is It? – Forbes
- Sealioning: How to Deal with the Time-Wasting Troll Tactic We’re All Tired Of – Everyday Feminism
- What is sealioning? – Quora
- Recognizing Sealioning – Simplikation
- Why Sealioning Is Bad – Simplikation
- Sealioning is the new thing to worry about in relationships and online – Metro
- Welcome to Advanced Trolling: Sealioning – Digital Diplomacy