Ben Smith and Rebecca Elliot have published a must-read “user’s guide” to Twitter’s political trolls:
[B]ecause they are, at their core and like the 12-year-old boys who invented the form on 4chan, desperate for attention, any engagement is a reward. Twitter also allows users to block trolls; but blocking is a form of engagement, and serves as a kind of thrilling encouragement and subject of discussion in the fervid trollsphere. The trolls ultimately turned the comments sections of blogs into scorched earth. Jonathan and I abandoned our POLITICO comments sections during 2007, and our community managers here at BuzzFeed have been startled by the nastiness that comes with covering politics. The trolls destroyed comments sections; they could wind up rendering Twitter close to uninhabitable by the end of this intense election cycle.