I think we need to talk about Sealioning


#1

I think now would be a good time to talk about sealioning

I’m not a stranger to this, and, even though CoG/HG games have been far more inclusive than most mainstream media, I’m disappointed but not surprised to see it here on the forums. I’ve seen far less perpetrators here than on any other site I’ve ever frequented, but the few I have seen have been somehow even more extremely persistent than others

I want to point them out so people can identify them and also start a discussion on what can be done about them. In my experience, arguments with them have only ended in either them getting bored of me, or me getting tired of them and blocking them entirely (one of the reasons why I used to routinely go on unfriending sprees on facebook until I finally just deleted and made a new one). However, I don’t feel like it’s fair to just say not to engage because, at first glance, they can be virtually identical people who genuinely do want to learn but are ignorant and/or word things poorly

Talking to them is exhausting because they’ll never listen to reason even if you cite every single study you can find (which I have done, often) and they’ll try to find another way to somehow paint themselves as the victim in the situation. So far the only ways I’ve seen them stopped is by them manipulating a conversation until it gets way out of hand and a moderator locks the thread. While this does the job in the end, it completely halts any other conversation that might be happening as well as tricking plenty of other well-intentioned people into putting way too much of their time and energy into a dead-end. I want to have a more efficient solution to them, but I’m pretty new to this forum and unfortunately I’m not sure what will work


Mass Effect- what are you looking most forward to?
#2

I’m not sure I get why it’s a problem (apart from people being annoyingly persistent) but I am a scientist so proof is basically what I live off and I genuinely want to understand more or less everything (is the problem that people refuse to understand even when you explain it?)


#3

I think the people who do this don’t really care about learning about the issue or evidence since they ignore it.


#4

So… they just keep asking annoying questions without ever actually discussing the issue? Huh… kinda like kids who keep asking “But whyyyyyyyyyyy?” But you know disguised as being civilised. Thanks man I think I get it now.


#5

The other part is an active refusal to either acknowledge your evidence as valid (often without actually reading it) and a refusal to put even a tiny bit of effort into looking for evidence on their own (even though that evidence is widely available and possibly even widely known.)

The Sealion doesn’t actually want the evidence they’re asking for. They want to stonewall the conversation by continuously insisting on evidence they will never accept.


#6

Just so people don’t need to go to a site they know nothing about:

Honestly, there are a few points from the original post I will respond to, then I most likely will stay silent here:

These types of actions invariably end bad. There are dangers of creating a black-list and there is the simple fact that this is not “our” job but the job of moderators and CoG employees. What individual CoG forum members do is talk to moderators about specific instances and flagging situations which warrant them intervening.

If you flag a conversation that gets to this point moderators can and will do their job.

The most efficient and fair thing to do is to let the moderators do their thing and not become vigilantes.


#7

Ignore people you don’t wish to communicate with.

Regardless of how a person makes you feel there is no need to actively post and engage them. Whether or not you do is entirely up to you, but engaging them exacerbates the issue.

If the forum offers tools to block people, use them.

Any other action is you making more of an issue out of things than is needed.


#8

First of all, I apologize for poor wording on my part. I personally haven’t engaged with any individuals, though I have seen them, I don’t mean to create a blacklist to ban specific individuals, but I’d like to find a way to discourage and minimize the sealioning behavior. I don’t believe simply creating more rules would help much if at all in this situation because they’re already quite thorough on what is and isn’t allowed here, and ‘sealions’ frequently find ways to go around any rules anyway

Raising awareness that this behavior exists does help, but beyond that I’m stumped on what can be done (if there is anything) which is what I’d like to discuss


#9

Look a bit down the posts on your own link and you’ll find this:


#10

The site requires an account to view after multiple visits, but I had a tab still open so I think I’ve found it (the answer by Anne Zahra? There are links below the first for related questions but I can’t go to them without creating an account) and honestly I’m a little confused on what it means? It’s a little unclear on whether the act is bad or using the term is

In all honesty I feel like I’m at a catch-22, there doesn’t seem to be a solution that doesn’t just create more problems


#11

Pretty much, she seems frustrated that the term “sealion” is potentially dangerous as a tool to silence or dismiss dissent…in the same way that actual sealioning would be.

And, she isn’t wrong. I’ve seen people accuse others of being trolls, even though the others are just disagreeing with them in a persistent fashion.

While actual Trolls (and their subset, the sealions) are undesirable, the act of creating terms to publicly shame them tends to be counterproductive. After all, the trolls don’t have a stake in the discussion, so don’t care about the public shaming. Instead, the trolls tend to subvert those terms for their own purposes…to shut down rational discussion and frustrate the people who actually care about the topic.


#12

Ah, okay I see
I’m a little frustrated with how things just seem to get more and more complicated and it’s almost beginning to feel like it’s just impossible to avoid problems like trolls. Up until recently I’ve mostly refrained from actually socializing on social media outside of facebook because of them


#13

Again, what to do and how to respond is actually set-out for you:

It really isn’t complicated.


#14

Alright, I see. I feel frustrated about how there’s nothing else that could be done for it to just not be a problem in the first place and how I’m overthinking things and just pulling up blanks for solutions


#15

Since the only way to prevent it from being a problem in the first place is somehow making people no longer enjoy trolling…it seems pretty unlikely to be possible to prevent.

The current solution is pretty effective, and the mods have a pretty good handle on things, I think.


#16

If you focus on positive postings and in engaging in productive discourse, you should be fine. Ignoring threads and posters that “trigger” a reaction is the best pro-active thing you can do.

I personally stay out of @MultipleChoice 's Book 2 thread because there are major triggers for me in that thread. I like his game and such but there are differences between myself and some of his most vocal fans. So I stay out of there.


#17

Today I’ve started muting threads where there’s things too distressing for me being discussed. It was a good move to make and probably would have been wiser for me to do it in the first place… better late than never, I suppose.


#18

If someone is frustrating you then ignore the user. Don’t answer their questions. If you’re having big issues with someone’s posts then you’re always welcome to PM the moderators, be it us all, or just one individually to discuss the situation. Even if you don’t think someone is breaking the rules, we’re usually willing to talk.

There are a lot of people on this site where we’re their first experience with marginalised groups, and the first place where they’ve encountered us not only being vocal, but also supported. I think it’s natural that there’s questions. That people want to know things. I also think it’s perfectly fine not to want to expend energy answering these questions.

I, personally, like seeing links to evidence backing up statements and I will sometimes ask for those because I’m genuinely interested in reading and learning more. I’ll usually do a quick google myself too of course.

I know that this site takes some getting used to. One of the things I love is that people are free to ask their questions, and to learn, and realise the importance of making inclusive games.

I mute threads as well when this is the case. I’ve found it makes the forum a far more pleasant experience. (Note, if you flag a thread which I have muted, I will still see your flag and be able to read the thread.)

Edit: I’d also like to add that we’ve a number of people on the forum who’re neurodiverse. That it is important to take that into consideration.


#19

Quite funny how I’ve never heard of that term before, even though it apparently applies to me as well :no_mouth:


#20

It’s just human nature. When people are confronted with evidence that doesn’t support their opinion, their belief in their opinion becomes stronger instead of weaker. Asking a lot of questions is an old way of trying to poke holes in your logic, even Socrates used it.

It’s rare to find people who get into debates with the assumption that they might change their own mind. Everyone wants to change someone else’s mind. I think it’s best not to debate unless you enjoy the process of debating regardless of the outcome.