(via Neil Gaiman on Tumblr)
"Don't feed the trolls" has always been pretty bad advice. This should be obvious. I remember, when I was younger, stupider, and frequented 4chan, what "Don't feed the trolls" meant. It wasn't a strategy for diminishing trolling. 4chan is very nearly nothing but trolling.
"Don't feed the trolls" just meant: Be good at identifying trolls, and don't fall for their trolling. If you do, they win. By 'win,' I mean the way you win a game of tag. That's all it was. That's all that not "feeding the trolls" is good for -- winning points in a juvenile game.
Trolling outside 4chan[1. Which is not to say that there's no serious, properly contemptible trolling in 4chan, but generally, I think the trolling on that site is often relatively benign, especially compared to the rest of its content.] isn't that playful game. It's an attempt to control and dominate conversations. Like propaganda in the early twentieth century, trolling is a weapon of opinion, and needs to be dealt with that way.
Erin Kissane's brilliant essay offers one solution, and she's right that it might be the only one:
When it comes to actually changing minds, I think we’re stuck with love.