There's a debate tactic where one side repeats "you need citations" for even the most basic facts. What's a way to describe this behavior?

  • Maybe just sceptical? Presumably the reason someone would ask for "citations" is because they don't believe you. But they would perhaps be prepared to believe what you're saying if you could cite authoritative sources to back it up. Of course, maybe the person saying you need citations is just looking for any excuse to reject your arguments - perhaps they're just nit-picking. Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 16:16
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    Stalling, blocking, perhaps close to filibustering: all designed to interrupt the flow of the speaker. Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 17:56
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    I think that may fall under the umbrella of "bad faith argumentation"
    – user888379
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 18:08
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    @Lambie others are in 10 Bullying Debate Techniques From Ben Shapiro Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 19:00
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    It's definitely a type of what is known as trivial objections, nitpicking, or hair-splitting but it's not the only type of that sort of argument. Not sure there's a more precise term for it. It's also not quite Just Asking Questions/JAQing off.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 20:56

2 Answers 2


Perhaps, they are a pedant?

NOUN a person who is excessively concerned with minor details and rules or with displaying academic learning

pe·dan·tic [pɪˈdantɪk] ADJECTIVE excessively concerned with minor details or rules; overscrupulous: "his analyses are careful and even painstaking, but never pedantic"


I would call that person deficient in what they do because of their sceptical and overzealous way of asking for citations for every little thing as you stated.

However, if you are planning to say that to their face, you should just say that the person is being overzealous (too devoted or excited) and absurd.

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