Twitter is responding to this problem [trolling] because the targets of Twitter harassment and abuse are talking about their experiences publicly.
The “don’t feed the trolls” approach that is so often advocated by those who try to minimize and/or excuse the harassment does not in fact work; indeed, “not feeding” trolls encourages them, by making clear they will face no repercussions for their abusive behavior.
“Don’t feed the trolls” FEEDS THE TROLLS.
–David Futrelle feeds the trolls.
Back when I was a wee tyke on the Interblargs, “don’t feed the trolls” meant don’t continue to argue with trolls. But this was in the context of things like mailing lists and message boards, i.e. spaces that were already public, where “trolling” conversations were a kind of spam that could block up the entire community’s discussion.
In other words, Don’t Feed The Trolls came from a time when everyone already knew exactly who all the trolls were, and how they operated. It was designed to shut them up. Also, the conversations were less “I hope you get raped and die, cunt” and more like the angry Star Wars fan ranting on
Somewhere along the line, however, it morphed into “don’t talk about the trolls”. Well, fuck that shit.
Talk about the trolls. If there’s one thing 2014 has taught us, be it GamerGate or Requires Hate, it’s that you need to talk about the goddamn trolls.