I think the large point first:
Robby B wrote:I understand how tempting it is to notice a common motif in the rhetoric of an Enemy, coin a name for that motif, and then use that name as though it on its own served as a magic word for banishing the Enemy and dispelling its arguments or insinuations. But in this case we already have names for the instances of "JAQing Off" that are problematic:
(1) When someone asks questions in a way that is meant to suggest a specific answer, we can criticize it as a leading question.
(2) When someone asks questions in a way that assumes a questionable premise, we can criticize it as a loaded question.
(3) When someone asks questions to dismantle a view no one holds, we can criticize it as a straw-man fallacy.
(4) When someone tries to implicitly defend a position by attacking an opposing view, we can criticize it as a false dilemma fallacy.
(5) When someone insinuates a conclusion rather than stating it explicitly, we can criticize it as a suppressed conclusion. (Likewise for suppressed premises.)
... and so on. All of these are much more specific, relevant, and informative than the generic term "JAQing Off," and have the advantage of being universally accepted as fallacies and errors by all parties. They're also easier to identify than the distinction between good-faith questioning and JAQing Off, and have a less subjective component than does the distinction between Socratic enlightenment and JAQing Off. I know of many excellent teachers who use a Socratic method to guide students toward a certain conclusion the teacher already has in mind, which in some ways makes them even more like the Off-JAQers than like Socrates; but that doesn't mean it's a bad teaching method. (The problem with it here is that we don't know a forum poster's expertise ahead of time, so we can't be expected to trust that leading questions will lead to the right place. That is why it's better to give your arguments explicitly in this context.)
Does anyone strongly disagree with this? (Not that using JAQing off always is bad, but that it doesn't appear to be particularly helpful or good when confronting the person who is suspected of it).
Robby B wrote:Another problem with the "JAQing Off" meme is that its pejorative character depends on a slur against masturbation, and specifically against male masturbation. If someone started criticizing a certain rhetorical device using a slur that's a homophone for female masturbation (or for anal sex, or for any other stigmatized sex-act), we would rightly object to it. So it's at least somewhat problematic for us to be promoting and exploiting the sex-negative connotations of masturbation here. We should simply drop the "JAQing Off" meme and start using more serious and to-the-point criticisms of the methods we're trying to gesture at. In particular, "You're committing the leading questions fallacy" is a lot likelier to be productive -- in addition to being a lot less jargony and inaccessible to outsiders -- than "You're JAQing off."
Not to equate anything, but it doesn't seem the best way to describe it, and more importantly, I don't find the term to be particularly useful or helpful.