Just asking questions
"Just asking questions" (JAQ) is a rhetorical deception aimed at making an argument seem weaker than it actually is. The technique involves asking questions that are either irrelevant or are easily answered. The JAQ-er may additionally argue that the lack of answers shows a weakness in the position against which it is being used.
This works particularly well when there is no platform for response, though it can also be effective even when there is one.
It is also known as "JAQing off".
The power of this tool as a deceptive tactic includes the following effects:
- It makes the questions feel, to an uninformed observer, like serious objections.
- It creates a false path of least resistance: the JAQ-er can plausibly claim they would be convinced if only you would answer these questions, thus shifting the burden of proof and often shifting the topic as well.
The best way to deal with this technique is to note that it's being used, and then decline to engage with it further.
Similar but different concepts include:
- Sealioning, which is more about continual questioning (often just "why?") of the premises behind any position
- The Gish gallop