In “Malwebolence – The World of Web Trolling”, to be published in the next New York Times Magazine and available now online, a troll reveals the secret of how not to be trolled:
…the Theory of the Green Hair.
“You have green hair,“ he told me. “Did you know that?”
“No,” I said.
“I look in the mirror. I see my hair is black.”
“That’s uh, interesting. I guess you understand that you have green hair about as well as you understand that you’re a terrible reporter.”
“What do you mean? What did I do?”
“That’s a very interesting reaction,” Fortuny said. “Why didn’t you get so defensive when I said you had green hair?” If I were certain that I wasn’t a terrible reporter, he explained, I would have laughed the suggestion off just as easily. The willingness of trolling “victims” to be hurt by words, he argued, makes them complicit, and trolling will end as soon as we all get over it.