A subtle form of trolling involving "bad-faith" questions. You disingenuously frame your conversation as a sincere request to be enlightened, placing the burden of educating you entirely on the other party. If your bait is successful, the other party may engage, painstakingly laying out their logic and evidence in the false hope of helping someone learn. In fact you are attempting to harass or waste the time of the other party, and have no intention of truly entertaining their point of view. Instead, you react to each piece of information by misinterpreting it or requesting further clarification, ad nauseum. The name "sea-lioning" comes from a Wondermark comic strip.
I spent five minutes asking polite questions, sealioning him into hours of writing until he got exasperated and told me to fuck off.
by alienacean November 16, 2016
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Sealioning is a term used to identify trolls who request citations when citations weren't necessary. It is akin to the meme of a child asking "Why?" after everything you say -- not even because they want to know, but as a bad faith way of faking interest while actually just trying to exhaust another person.

For example, "Sealioning" itself has been Sealioned with bad faith "definitions" attempting to change the meaning of the word to benefit online trolls.
Person 1: The sun rises in the east.
Person 2: Can you provide a link to your claims?
Person 1: Don't be sealioning me, you can look it up yourself!
by the modhatter January 5, 2023
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Akin to playing Devil's Advocate, but worse. Whereas, on occasion, someone playing Devil's Advocate can actually help someone sharpen arguments and make them better, Sealioning amounts to the meme of the little kid replying to every answer with, "Why?" The Sealion has NO interest in hearing any other side, OR of making substantial arguments of its own side. A Sealion will often make empirically ridiculous arguments in the hopes of getting blocked online, which they incorrectly define as "owning" the person who blocked them. In fact, on social media, if you check the Sealion's replies, they're often cut-and-paste replies, frequently 100% unrelated to the topic. The sole purpose is to suppress the free speech of actual people who might thwart the success of disinformation campaigns.
"Did that fan of Killer Kyle Rittenhouse actually repeat that old 'I bet you didn't even watch the trial' propaganda?"
"Of course. So I had to remind him that yes, in fact, I did watch the trial, and Killer Kyle never denied murdering those people. He admitted that the person who assaulted those peaceful protesters was him. He admitted that they used their Stand Your Ground rights to defend themselves against his threats. He admitted that he shot at them --"
"Why do you even bother? They're clearly just Sealioning you."
"Of course -- which is a form of bullying, and letting bullies get away with bullying leaves people with the impression that the bullies were actually right, and we can't let that happen.
by the modhatter April 15, 2023
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Sealioning is a term used to describe the actions of villains who demand "citations" for things that are prima facie true, in an attempt to harass and silence facts that give them cognitive dissonance.

As you can see on this very page of definitions, conservatives will even Sealion the term "Sealioning," because it diminishes their capacity to use this fascist tactic.
Person 1: An orange is an orange.
Troll 1: Can you provide a link to your claims?
Troll 2: Yeah, if you can't provide a link to prove that an orange is an orange, we own the libs once again!
Person 2: Don't worry, they're just Sealioning you. They're either bots, or just morons.
by the modhatter May 10, 2023
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Trolling, which trolls call "Trying to engage in a controversial yet civil debate and requesting evidence from someone who refuses to provide such evidence to back up their claims." In short, sealioning is a form of censorship, in which case the trolls aim to exhaust free speech -- and if people block the toxic trolls, said trolls will just open up new accounts in the hope of making people be silent.

Used to accurately describe trolls who "request evidence" of things that any SINCERE person could just Google themselves, if they SINCERELY wanted to know anything. But this is simply not their true intent. They have been trained to exhaust any actual civil debate by popping up like a loud sea lion to frustrate and annoy people into not talking about things which offend said sealions.

"Sealioning" as a term is used to point out trolls' dishonesty by putting the blame where it belongs, on the one troll who tries to shout down SINCERE conversations by calling their trolling "debate."
Troll A : Can you give me a link to a study or article that validates your claim ?
Person A : Do you really need a study that validates my statement that water is wet? This sealioning is appallingly pathetic.
Person B : I have touched water, and it is indeed wet.
Troll A : Prove it !
Every rational person: Why do you feel it necessary to spend so much of your life sealioning? All you're doing is proving that no amount of "evidence" can sway you.
by the modhatter June 3, 2023
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A type of trolling in which someone repeatedly asks bad-faith questions, in an effort to get the truth silenced online.
As you will see, trolls specifically hate the term "Sealioning," and will reply to it with... SEALIONING!
"Why doesn't that troll just Google it himself?"
"That's the point of Sealioning -- to make you so tired that you leave conversations and allow another platform to become Truth Social."
by the modhatter June 6, 2022
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Trying to engage in a controversial yet civil debate and requesting evidence from someone who refuses to provide such evidence to back up their claims.
Used to demonize one who requests evidence or proof of claims, based on assumptions about their character and intent.
Can be used to conceal your dishonesty by putting the blame on the one who tries to engage you in a debate.
Person A : Can you give me a link to a study or article that validates your claim ?
Person B : This sealioning is appalling, I can read your mind and I know for a fact that you are concealing your malicious intent behind false civility. You are a troll and as such not worthy of evidence. Redeem yourself by getting rid of your critical thinking and accepting the validity of my claims.

Person C : I have been abducted by aliens and infected with one of their viruses, but thankfully Jesus came down on Earth to save me using homeopathy.
Person D : Prove it !
Person C : This is sealioning ! How DARE you ?!
by Prince_Crimson June 29, 2017
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