Talk:Just asking questions

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Redirect swap[edit]

Anyone else find the title a little... juvenile? I'd much rather, if it has to exist, just have the title as Just Asking Questions and have "JAQing off" as a joke at the bottom. Cow...Hammertime! 22:12, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Yes. Sure. Evil fascistoh noez 22:13, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, seconded. Have just arrived here at RationalWiki, and this was an article I would have shared (and linked to in future discussions when people were doing it) if it didn't have the sniggering title. --Gurneyslade (talk) 14:46, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
It is a bit. OTOH, it's the jargon now - David Gerard (talk) 11:54, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
Everywhere, or just on some particular forums? I'm only an occasional reader of skeptic websites, but haven't ever encountered this phrase outside of this wiki, and googling around I see a lot of people talking about "just asking questions" in scare quotes. No reason not to mention "JAQing off" as an aside in the opening sentence, it just seems unnecessarily crude for an article title. --Gurneyslade (talk) 17:12, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Bumping this a few months later: Googling for "just asking questions" "skeptic" turns up a lot more results than "jaqing off", with plenty of them in the quote-marks context of it being an argument tactic. (In fact, even a straight search for "just asking questions" is dominated by quote-marked observations on conspiracy theorists and Glenn Beck.)
It seems a bit glaring to have a sniggery masturbation joke listed in the broadly sober fallacious arguments category. --Gurneyslade (talk) 13:44, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Concur. Moved - David Gerard (talk) 13:55, 7 February 2014 (UTC)


A seemingly irrelevant line of questioning could be intended as more of an open-ended inquiry than a debate. Ideally, the person "just asking questions" is doing precisely that: looking for an answer that will prove or disprove a hypothesis, and being interested in either outcome. Whatever the result, it could lead to more hypotheses, and go unforeseen places. Some of those will be dead ends, and then one backs up and resumes from an earlier point. Creativity in coming up with more hypotheses is actually to be encouraged, because where scientists often reach an impasse is where they can't think of any more hypotheses. It's just a matter of pursuing inquiries in the appropriate places, where they won't get in the way of unrelated matters. By the way, ED's article on the topic is pretty good. Landmartian (talk) 08:06, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Sure, but isn't this already covered by the last line already in the paragraph? ("A particularly toxic thing about sealioning is that people who are genuine newbies asking serious questions are easy to mistake for Sealions.") ScepticWombat (talk) 19:43, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Which basically puts all the blame on the sea lions (who might actually be pretty rare; it's hard to tell, because other people's motives are a matter of interpretation and speculation) rather than the people who see sealioning everywhere. Landmartian (talk) 21:03, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
I think the original comic is ingenious in the sense that the identity of the protagonist and the villain is reader dependent. --Inquisitor (talk) 21:25, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
While it would probably be a good idea to expand the article to include the "offensive" use of the sealion label to discredit opponents (it may have some similarity to the recursive aspects of Cohen's Law), JAQing off isn't exactly unheard of. To take an RW example (albeit with only a slight tinge of sealioning): Have you encountered LogicMaster777, or (the horror) actually tried to engage in debates with him?
Yes, ideally questions are asked honestly, but then again, ideally sophistry is only employed for good and honest purposes - the reasons both sophistry and JAQing off (and sea lioning) have acquired their negative connotations aren't simply because sinister opponents try to discredit those poor misunderstood sophists/sea lions, but due to quite blatant examples of the misuse of both kinds of techniques by people arguing in bad faith.
It becomes a bit hard to presume good faith when people keep on "just asking (irrelevant) questions" after having received clear answers and/or explanations why the questions are irrelevant to the topic (in the case of sealioning). Again, I think that LogicMaster is a pretty good example here. Or, for that matter, creationists (particularly Young Earth creationists) or "Spirit Science" Jordan. ScepticWombat (talk) 21:36, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Sealioning - Possible use as a snarl word?[edit]

I know the word is clearly defined on this page to mean a statement disguised as a question or intentionally wasting time, but am I the only person who's concerned that this word could be used to attack legitimate newcomers/shut down debate if its use is not policed?TotalSJW (talk) 08:12, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

Great question you're just asking! Oh, wait - David Gerard (talk) 10:08, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
Please tell me you're taking me seriously. — Unsigned, by: TotalSJW / talk / contribs
It can be. Sir ℱ℧ℤℤϒℂᗩℑᑭƠℑᗩℑƠ (talk/stalk) 11:35, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
As in the section above - note that the article says A particularly toxic thing about sealioning is that people who are genuine newbies asking serious questions are easy to mistake for sealions. So, yeah, the article is more than aware of the problem in distinguishing between sealioning and a genuine enquiry.
But you say 'policed' - who are these police? Doxys Midnight Runner (talk) 12:18, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
The police are forum moderators. (talk) 21:39, 2 June 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The objective of the exercise wit JAQing off is to get the target of the JAQing to become hostile to newbies and attack them , the freshly bitten newbies will then be approached by an alt-right recruiter who will befriend them by sympathizing with how badly treated they were and convincing the newbie to side with them instead. And it worked an absolute treat , I hung around alt-right sites to do the research for a sociology report I did on them about 4 years ago and this was a widely reported answer to "how did you find this site?" in the introductions section of their forums. Pleides (talk) 02:14, 18 December 2020 (UTC)

@Pleides Welps then perhaps you could put that into our "How did you find this site" page. --Goatspeed. E pluribus unum🇺🇸CircularREmail2.gifasoning🇺🇸🇺🇸-->See my latest prototypes 04:08, 18 December 2020 (UTC)

Herding sealions by citing a primer[edit]

"A particularly toxic thing about sealioning is that people who are genuine newbies asking serious questions are easy to mistake for sealions."

I too appear to have fallen into this trap a couple times in the role of a newbie. So to distinguish sincere newbies from abusive sealions, is it productive to point the polite asker of basic questions to a proper introduction and a list of refutations of frequent arguments? --Damian Yerrick (talk) 14:20, 26 August 2016 (UTC)

Yes and no. Yes, some noobs will be satisfied. No, some newbs want personalized responses or have specific questions not addressed in the primer. FU22YC47P07470 (talk/stalk) 14:28, 26 August 2016 (UTC)
Does how these follow-up questions are phrased help distinguish good faith newbs from sealions? --Damian Yerrick (talk) 19:05, 26 August 2016 (UTC)
I never knew there was an actual bit of jargon for that. RW has taught me something again. Scarlet A.pngDon't click here 20:36, 26 August 2016 (UTC)

Distinguishing sealioning[edit]

There are newbies, there are those who want their ignorance enlightened, there are, for most of us, particular topics which we need to approach from several angles to 'get', and there are 'discussions which participants explore from every angle' (brainstorming or causing brainstorms) and similar.

Then there are the sealions and the anti-sealions (those who stick to a particular offbeat to not-even-wrong viewpoint which they stick to, regardless of what other people do to try and change their mind: there are several examples on RW).

So how can they be distinguished - so the former can be given the help or means to progress that they want and the latter can be encouraged to amuse or enlighten each other while the rest of us watch? Anna Livia (talk) 13:45, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

I changed the section topic because there's already one called "sealioning" and navigation is messed up otherwise. Hope you don't mind. Spriggina (prat) (insatser) @ 16:15, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
No problem.
What happens if a sealion and a reverse-sealion encounter each other? (My term is a convenient neologism, no more) Anna Livia (talk) 22:40, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

Removal of the derailment point[edit]

I just removed two paragraphs at the beginning concerning using accusations of JAQing off as a derailment tactic. They were clearly added by someone who didn't recognize the purpose of the article. Sure, accusations of JAQing off *might* be used as a derailment tactic (but I have seen few examples), and it might - possibly - be worth adding a section toward the end about that, as a warning. But suddenly launching it at the beginning just adds confusion (and derailment). I imagine people interested in reading about JAQing off access the article to read about the use of JAQing off as a rhetorical tactic, not the grievances of someone who has probably rightfully accused of employing the tactic. G.D. (talk) 21:11, 26 October 2022 (UTC)

I agree. Any fallacy should be given the benefit of the doubt that it comes from an innocent but ignorant place. We don't need to clarify this in the lede for every single fallacy. I could understand JAQing off may have more potential for abuse, and that can be discussed in the article. Kauri0.o (talk) 22:28, 26 October 2022 (UTC)
Actually I think the "Caveats" section does a good enough job anyway. Kauri0.o (talk) 22:30, 26 October 2022 (UTC)