26 votes

No, you’re not ‘just asking questions.’ You’re spreading disinformation.

10 comments

  1. [5]
    JCPhoenix
    Link
    Sealioning. In my online gaming group comprised of mainly Americans, we had this really hardcore conservative guy. From Canada. He was the exact embodiment of the quote, "Americans are...

    Sealioning. In my online gaming group comprised of mainly Americans, we had this really hardcore conservative guy. From Canada. He was the exact embodiment of the quote, "Americans are benevolently ignorant about Canada, whereas Canadians are malevolently informed about the United States." He was a hardcore Trumper, wishing many times that Canada had Trump instead of Trudeau. I'll also mention he was pretty anti-government; it'll be relevant later.

    Overall though, He was a nice guy, fun to play with, fun to talk to...except when it came to politics. Because he would sealion the shit out of us. We'd be talking about some game, then he'd come in an ask a question like, "So what do you guys think of [American policy issue here]." Our group is pretty educated; we try to stay abreast of current events and news. We discuss politics pretty frequently. But we're not policy wonks by any means. Some of the younger guys don't even know about whatever topic because they're not experienced enough in life to have dealt with whatever it is we're talking about.

    Anyway, he never really wanted our sincere opinion or a discussion. He knew we were all pretty liberal. Bernie was a popular guy in our group, for example. But he only asked so he could begin throwing around "facts" and information he read from Infowars or something Alex Jones or Jordan Peterson said. He wanted to convince us that we were wrong. Sometimes this would go around for like 2+ hours. It was tiring.

    The sorta funny part was that he admitted he was super liberal when he was younger. But he was one of those that once he "got his," became successful, he couldn't care less about anyone else. He hated taxes and wanted the government out of his life.

    But who did he work? Either the Canadian federal government's or province's health department/agency. He worked for the government.

    What a hypocrite.

    12 votes
    1. [2]
      Bear
      Link Parent
      Even if someone is the nicest person ever except for a massive personality flaw that they live to start political arguments in a group that is not formed to debate politics, which then drives...

      Anyway, he never really wanted our sincere opinion or a discussion. He knew we were all pretty liberal. Bernie was a popular guy in our group, for example. But he only asked so he could begin throwing around "facts" and information he read from Infowars or something Alex Jones or Jordan Peterson said. He wanted to convince us that we were wrong. Sometimes this would go around for like 2+ hours. It was tiring.

      Even if someone is the nicest person ever except for a massive personality flaw that they live to start political arguments in a group that is not formed to debate politics, which then drives everyone else's stress levels way up when they're trying to relax, I would default to banning them with prejudice unless they or others could show that I had somehow wildly misinterpreted the situation.

      8 votes
      1. JCPhoenix
        Link Parent
        We're such a small group, like 10-15 people, that we're always hesitant to outright ban since it's not like we're getting "replacements." We don't recruit from any games anymore. There's always...

        We're such a small group, like 10-15 people, that we're always hesitant to outright ban since it's not like we're getting "replacements." We don't recruit from any games anymore. There's always someone that someone else doesn't like or finds annoying even in the main group, so we often can't agree on who should be banned. We're also apparently too timid to say anything. A person has to be a real asshole the minute they walk in for us to ban. Wielding the ban hammer appropriately is something we need to work on.

        Though we solved the issue by steering the conversations back to gaming or whatever when he would do starting "asking" questions. Sometimes even abruptly. So our "friend" got the idea. He stopped showing up much after we started doing it. It's been several months since he last got on our Teamspeak.

        2 votes
    2. [2]
      lou
      Link Parent
      There's someone like that in my friends group. Just replace right-wing Trumper with self-righteous left-winger that loves smelling their own farts. Turns out he's quite literally never wrong,...

      There's someone like that in my friends group. Just replace right-wing Trumper with self-righteous left-winger that loves smelling their own farts. Turns out he's quite literally never wrong, we're the ones misunderstanding him. Every freaking time. And we are all on the same side of the political spectrum.

      We called him out -- he stopped talking to us. As a group, we just couldn't take it anymore.

      7 votes
      1. psi
        Link Parent
        Everybody could benefit from some amount of epistemic modesty. We seldom have near-perfect information, especially with respect to politics, so occasionally we will be flatly wrong; we'd be fools...

        Everybody could benefit from some amount of epistemic modesty. We seldom have near-perfect information, especially with respect to politics, so occasionally we will be flatly wrong; we'd be fools to think otherwise.

        Now, I'm not arguing that we should practice epistemic modesty always -- there are certain topics I assume axiomatically as I find the negative horrifying (eg, trans rights, equality in general, etc). However, if you're more than 95% confident that universal basic income will solve our socioeconomic woes, you're either a practicing economist or overconfident in your assessment.

        7 votes
  2. [5]
    skybrian
    Link
    This meme that “just asking questions” is bad bothers me. When we don’t know anything (and as outside observers, we often don’t), we should be asking questions. Or at least coming up with good...

    This meme that “just asking questions” is bad bothers me. When we don’t know anything (and as outside observers, we often don’t), we should be asking questions. Or at least coming up with good questions, to put into words what we don’t understand yet.

    I hate to see asking questions getting tarnished by people doing it in bad faith.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      It's fairly easy to tell the difference. They almost always literally say "Just asking questions", or alternatively, when people shut them down, they will immediately say something along the lines...

      It's fairly easy to tell the difference. They almost always literally say "Just asking questions", or alternatively, when people shut them down, they will immediately say something along the lines of "why don't liberals like people asking questions!?"

      19 votes
      1. skybrian
        Link Parent
        I guess either I never run into these people, or they are such obvious trolls that I don’t spend any time on them?

        I guess either I never run into these people, or they are such obvious trolls that I don’t spend any time on them?

        1 vote
    2. HotPants
      Link Parent
      seems reasonable to me..

      How do we distinguish good questions from bad ones? First, the question should be based on some specific fact; questions divorced from reality are plainly unhelpful. Second, is the questioner interested in learning the answer? If not, then you likely have a case of “just asking questions” in bad faith. And finally, does the questioner already know the answer and use the question to cloud the truth, rather than elucidate it? If so, it’s very likely you have a malicious actor on your hands.

      seems reasonable to me..

      13 votes
    3. lou
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Just asking questions is fine. RepeatedIy asking similar questions which imply the same answer in a covert effort to lead the public to arrive at a predetermined conclusion is not.

      Just asking questions is fine. RepeatedIy asking similar questions which imply the same answer in a covert effort to lead the public to arrive at a predetermined conclusion is not.

      9 votes