Pinnipedia Otariidae

Are we allowed to call them sealions when we see it?

Serious question, because recently while looking through this thread for a specific quote, I re-read an older comment of yours regarding the MO of now banned ‘slow and steady’ trolls who actively seek to exploit the assumption of good faith which the community here is expected to extend.

IMO, that tactic was on full display today in the ‘Rich White Man Channels Bull Connor by Hosing Homeless Black Woman’ thread.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think that anyone here who’s posting in earnest wants to make more work for you than is necessary; it’s simply hard to just ignore such energy leeches who just go on and on, ad nauseum.


I think the problem with any sort of calling out of behaviour is that it is almost guaranteed to derail the conversation and make the replies that follow about that statement or user instead of the original topic. It’s part of why I recommend so strongly to just flag instead.

In terms of clean-up effort, it’s about an order of magnitude easier to just remove an offensive post than to have to wade through a ton of replies to one instead.


The trick is to stop talking to them once you realize what they are doing. If you do call them out for it, let that be the last thing you say to them. There’s no productive conversation beyond that point.


That’s a tough conundrum, though. If duke had let that initial post stand, I don’t know that Leon’s sea lioning would’ve been exposed, you know?
And their first post wasn’t really flaggable, I don’t think. It hurts to not counter that kind of stuff…
In any case, the conversation did raise some salient facts, (thanks to @DukeTrout ) relevant to the OP, so that’s something.
But duly noted about the cleanup effort.
Maybe we need a “sea pup” flag, where we can alert you to their supposed intentions even if it’s not quite flaggable yet :wink:

Sea Otter Hello GIF by Oregon Zoo
They’re so cute before they grow up.


I agree both of these statements. There can be value in very gently asking someone to reconsider their words. A flag-and-removal can be taken as “I’m being punished, unfairly, by the impersonal system” which people may not learn from. It’s impersonal. Giving someone a chance to re-do their words can be a lesson. I do think that when someone sees a long-time Leader or Regular (not involved in the conversation) very gently caution someone to take a step back, it can have weight.

And, I agree–this is an approach that doesn’t always work.


Which likely just causes them to double down, as they can just assume it’s a personal attack by people who have “weaponized” the flagging system (or that’s their justification for carrying on like that, despite the slap on the wrist or what have you)… this is why the BS claim of group think here on the BBS persists, because some people believe that the flagging system is being weaponized to shut down particular viewpoints… which… it’s not. But not getting rhetorical pushback on BS arguments can make it SEEM that way from a very superficial viewpoint…

That too!

We’re supposed to assume good faith, but we also know that there are some people whose entire existence on the internet is an exercise in “bad faith”… they are not here (online, I mean, not just on the BBS) to learn, grown, socialize, and build community, but to push particular agendas, tear shit down that they find personal objectionable (like a left-leaning community that is open and inclusive, like here), and shut down any and all discussions that they personally dislike and are triggered by. But some of those are not always obvious from the get go, because they have gotten quite good at masking their true intentions under a cloak of objectivity and “just asking questions”… I think that giving those people rhetorical pushback reminds them that they are not the only people online, and that there are STILL some places were community and discussions that are actual productive are not only tolerated but encouraged and celebrated…

How we balance making the mods job easier with keeping up the pressure on these bad faith actors acting like good faith ones is difficult…


Knowing when to call it is hard too. Like is this intentionally derailing or is this just a person with a bad idea and a defensive disposition but ultimately a good chance to confront this kind of thinking? IDK. I feel like I’m under 50% accuracy.


I moderate some other online groups/forums, and one of my tests is when the verbiage shifts from “I disagree with this idea” to “I disagree with you” or “this idea is” to “you are” and I start to take notice. Any shift from the abstract to the personal generally means the train is leaving the tracks.


I still think that we should assume good faith at first, at least until proven otherwise. The proven otherwise part may come one or two posts into a conversation or five, but it rarely takes too long. Once we recognize bad faith, then we know there can be no worthwhile discussion. The idea is to let people talk and discuss without wasting our own time on bad actors, at least not any more than we have to.


I’d like to think that there’s some middle ground between the first and fourteenth reply.


This situation also causes people like me to shut up too, even if we’re not the ones banned.

I took a risk and responded personally to a number of troublesome posts this week, all of which seem to be gone now (without notice to me, BTW).

So I’ll be going back to a period of not wanting to post much, not go into depth too much, because it’s a waste of my time and effort. This isn’t the first time. I’m never able to get too comfortable here before getting another reminder that my words have no more value than the problem posters.

I won’t automatically assume someone is a problem, I just won’t ask for clarification at all, because those are the rules. It shuts down the possibility of reaching out to someone and getting them to see things a different way, or else seeing things their way.

Which is the main reason I don’t flag often: I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but that’s what we’re told we’re supposed to do. I’d rather have a more complex and messy discussion which includes more voices, even if I don’t appreciate all of them individually. If I can’t feel out what’s going on with a poster, I’m loathe to flag them because that’s ALSO work for the moderator. Someone’s got to figure out what the situation is, or else posters have to be dropped expeditiously without much confirmation that they’re actually a long-term problem. After all, everyone has bad days.

So, this sort of situation causes me to disengage. I can’t be the only one who feels that way.


Since we’re on the topic of productive vs unproductive discourse, I want to say I don’t find this to be very productive.
If you want to use the discussion in question as a case study, that would be really informative. Where exactly do you think it went astray, away from someone having a productive dialogue to “feeding the sea lions.”?
My post here was about how it’s difficult to gauge when or if we should flag versus when it makes sense to engage, give the benefit of the doubt, and see what’s up.

So, seven? Is there a number we should be using? :woman_shrugging:t2:


A lesson I have learnt twice in my time here on the Boing - a couple of years?

My original posts were an attempt at humour that fell wide of the mark, and it was thanks to Boingers pointing out where I stepped over the line that I learnt something positive, and my appreciation for the Boing crowd grew. Had I gone the other way, kicking back against the current, well, you probably wouldn’t be seeing this post.

So I guess my point is, you don’t have to find a hill to die on, there is always a way to stroll gently back down it, loss of face be damned.

And there’s always toffees.


I concur.

From my POV, some of our more patient members try earnestly and repeatedly to engage such disingenuous users, based on that assumption of good faith, using the approved methods of interaction; asking sincere questions, staying on the topic, attacking the argument, and not the user…

Implying that we should just quietly let bad faith comments go unchallenged upon the realization that’s what we’re dealing with isn’t any sort of viable solution.

The fact of the matter is that some people actively aspire to be “disrupters,” and IMO that was what we saw demonstrated in yesterday’s little melee.


“Earnestly” being the key word. In this case no-one was being fooled into thinking he wanted to engage in earnest, so their responses were not earnest either.

From what I saw, @DukeTrout quickly (and correctly) determined that the other user was not interested in a good-faith discussion and replied mainly to help said “clever” user paint himself into a rhetorical corner on the matter at hand. In the process, it also brought out that user’s known tendency to sea-lion. When that became sufficiently undeniable, @DukeTrout used his Leader power to throttle the topic so that the moderator could sort things out.

It’s a tricky situation but it was handled well. Sometimes it takes several deliberately crafted replies to make that evident enough for enough people to flag the behaviour and bring it to the moderator’s attention.


From decades of fishing, I can say that when there’s a sea lyon under the boat, just fishing looks a lot like feeding the sea lyon… There are only two ways to solve the problem - move the boat and cede that stretch of water to the sea lyon or relocate the sea lyon.

Thank you for relocating the sea lyon. I like this stretch of water.


So as far as both those things go…I have been reluctant to use leader powers in cases where I am upset with one of the participants. In this case though it was extremely obvious it was a derail the moment Leon took charging someone with battering a homeless woman as an excuse for handwringing over if this is the best way to spend money instead.

It would have been easy for me to move and made clean-up that much easier for you. With flags I get your second opinion, with moves I don’t…but I wonder if you think I should have gone ahead anyway?


I’m using that IRL, with a change of a word or two, so thank you.


For reals, though!

Let’s examine what that’s really saying, in a nutshell:

The primary concern displayed by the aforementioned sealion was the allocation of tax payer funds rather than the inhumane mistreatment and abuse of a homeless WoC.

He seemed to be passively lamenting that there were any actual negative consequences for what (to my eyes) looked like a racist aggression, as well as the crime of battery.

Further note that said member never seems to make such prevarications when ‘the shoe is on the other foot…’


And then seeming to deliberately miss the whole bloody point.