I was listening to the latest episode of the ATP podcast, where the hosts were discussing recent attacks on women in gaming. I emailed a response to the show and was asked to post it somewhere public, so I have.
At some point during the show, the hosts were saying that "don't feed the trolls" was not a helpful response in the event of the abuse that has been happening. I didn't think that was quite right so I sent the following response:
I would say that my understanding of "don't feed the trolls" doesn't mean that trolls shouldn't be called out for their attacks. To me, it means that once a troll has been called out and fails to understand that their behaviour is unacceptable, then they should be starved of attention.
I've found the internet is often full of people that are so angry on a particular topic that any amount of reasoned discussion will fail to sway them. The continued existence of trolls in a discussion will derail it and bring anger to everyone involved.
Not feeding the trolls is for the sake of the discussion as so often a called-out troll will continue their behaviour even in the face of well-reasoned argument.
Also, I'm finding Twitter is more and more a place for anger and hatred. It's so easy to send off an angry 140-character rant, without thinking through the anger in it. There is too little friction and too little space for nuance.