Don’t Feed the Trolls

Anyone who has been on the internet (especially on social media sites and forums) has probably encountered a troll at least once. A troll is “One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument” (according to urbandictionary). You’ve probably heard advice along the lines of, “don’t feed the trolls, interacting or arguing with them only gives them satisfaction. Ignore them or they win.”

Steph Guthrie, founder of Women in Toronto Politics, has an eloquently accurate response to such advice.


Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t do any good to allow these “trolls” to continue their completely innappropriate behavior. This point is further proven by performance artist Marina Abramovic, who did a piece in which she stood completely still while audience members were allowed to use any of 72 objects to do whatever they wanted to her, and she didn’t react. For six hours the audience’s actions escalated. One person even pointed a gun at her head. This piece proved that aggressors are not deterred by a lack of reaction. Once the six hour time limit was up, Marina began to move towards the audience, and they scattered. They were not deterred by her silence, they were afraid of consequences.


3 thoughts on “Don’t Feed the Trolls

  1. Oh, now this is interesting. I have always ignored trolls — I generally never look at the comments on websites, unless they’re on blogs that I know moderate their comments. My thought is, is commenting in response enough of a consequence?

    • I think the idea is that we shouldn’t let them think that the hurtful things they aren’t ok, so if enough people react by saying “whoa man that’s not cool” then eventually they’ll be taught that it’s not socially acceptable. It’s like using peer pressure for good.

  2. Pingback: Week Three Reflection | ecofriendlyfreak

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