Author Topic: Denial of service (DoS) attack—one aimed at humans rather than servers  (Read 498 times)

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Offline Gigabyte

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This came up on Twitter, and I thought of the topic here, and I searched out the topic, but I was scolded about how long it had been and it was suggested I start a new topic.  Oh help me contain my joy.


I mean, aren't we all supposed to be discussing these issues civilly and coolly, and asking each other for evidence to support our claims?

That's not what sealioning means.
Due to the waste of time reading the topic became, I stopped, since I consider anything that wastes my time a denial of service, "service" being "my enjoyment of what scant years I have left".

Here is the link and a few quotes.

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The "deflection" point that I made sounds a lot like "sealioning" though I was not familiar with the term when I wrote that piece. Daniel Chandler and Rod Munday have actually published the book, A Dictionary of Social Media. They define "sealioning" as "A disparaging term for the confrontational practice of leaping into an online discussion with endless demands for answers and evidence."
https://www.forbes.com/sites/marshallshepherd/2019/03/07/sealioning-is-a-common-trolling-tactic-on-social-media-what-is-it/#291a058c7a41

I sense some serious irony in all this.

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Rhetorically, sealioning fuses persistent questioning—often about basic information, information on easily found elsewhere, or unrelated or tangential points—with a loudly-insisted-upon commitment to reasonable debate. It disguises itself as a sincere attempt to learn and communicate. Sealioning thus works both to exhaust a target’s patience, attention, and communicative effort, and to portray the target as unreasonable. While the questions of the “sea lion” may seem innocent, they’re intended maliciously and have harmful consequences.

Until I heard the term sealioning (in the linked topic), I didn't know there was a term for this behavior. 

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Johnson offers an alternative term because she argues that "sealioning" is "opaque and obscure." She borrows from the information technology and computational community to suggest that "sealioning," as she writes, is a "type of denial of service (DoS) attack—one aimed at humans rather than servers."

That actually makes more sense to me.  And indeed, a large group of people with nothing but time and the will to simply never stop posting is exactly like a DoS attack.  It's not the sheer volume, but the repetition.  It used to be called flaming, and was documented by the humorist Mike Reed. 
www.flamewarriorsguide.com/warriorshtm/swarm.htm

The polite but never ending swarm was a much feared event, usually only ended by an admin banning or even locking entire topics.  Since there is/was nothing actually against the rules, nobody could admit the horrible truth.  Becoming popular was a form of online death by a thousand posts.  This was before social media of course.

The modern lesson might just be, don't wander in and post anything that might antagonize anyone on social media.  They might be organized, and they might have numbers on their side.

Even if both sides have numbers, that just makes it worse. 
I don't understand some things, but at least I know I don't know

Offline Bill K

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Forgive me truly, but I must be missing the point?

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Offline The Latinist

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Yeah, I’m not sure what to make of this post either.  Is the point that “Human DDoS” is a better term for the phenomenon than “sealioning.”  If so, I disagree; there are fundamental features of sealioning that are not captured by the DDoS analogy. I would also point out that sealioning and flaming are very different phenomena.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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Forgive me truly, but I must be missing the point?

Ruminations on social media
If global warming is real then how come I just felt this chill down my spine?

Offline Bill K

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Forgive me truly, but I must be missing the point?

Ruminations on social media

I still don't understand, sorry.
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Offline Gigabyte

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I still don't understand, sorry.
Imagine two hundred polite people responding with "I don't understand your point.  Could you explain it again?", or some variation of the same response.  The sheer volume of questions or responses or repeating the same thing, it's like a DoS if you make the mistake of trying to respond to everyone.
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Offline The Latinist

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I’m sorry, but I don’t understand.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Gigabyte

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Ruminations on social media
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'Sealioning' Is A Common Trolling Tactic On Social Media

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people who troll online by pretending to ask sincere questions, but just keep feigning ignorance and repeating 'polite' follow ups until someone gets fed up. That way, they can cast their opponents as attacking them and being unreasonable. It's pretty common on comment sections of weather blogs re: climate change. It's called 'sealioning', and the term is based on this lovely comic (found at this link).
I think that new people, especially academics, or law professors (see below) are actually surprised and experiencing for the first time the shock of interacting online (because social media).  And it's really really awful for them because unlike the old days (on a forum like this one) there is no Nanny or Admin or Royals to run to for help.  You are on your own out there.  But wait, there is more!

 
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Questions—shaped by explicit or implicit expectations about who has the right to question and who can be questioned about what—impose labor by demanding the questioned party either answer or appear indifferent; providing explanations and maintaining patience takes time and effort.
https://cyber.harvard.edu/sites/cyber.harvard.edu/files/2017-08_harmfulspeech.pdf

And there is the real fly in the ointment of social media.  There is no control over others, as long as nobody breaks the "rules", you are subject to the never ending assault on social media.  The assault of other people.  A more sure hell has never awaited anyone than being subject to just anyone asking questions.

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While superficially sealioning may seem but a mild annoyance, it undermines important social practices of trust and informal teaching.
It's not a "mild annoyance", it's the very real annoyance of just anybody can ask you a question.  Or then ten thousand questions.
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Offline The Latinist

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I’m sorry, but I’m still having trouble following what you’re actually trying to argue.  Can you nutshell it in your own words, without quotes or references to outside sources?
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

 

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