The Best Way to Battle Internet Trolls Is to Treat Them Like Ice Cubes Dropped in the Dirt

Illustration for article titled The Best Way to Battle Internet Trolls Is to Treat Them Like Ice Cubes Dropped in the Dirt
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“I dropped it, Daddy! I dropped it!” my daughter exclaimed while sitting on my lap, as the ice cube she held in the palm of her hand slipped from her grasp and crashed on the cement stoop outside our house. Determined to retrieve the wayward cube, she crawled off of me, stood over the ice and reached to grab it. I stopped her.


“Let it go. It’s dirty now, and we have more ice.”

To articulate my point, I shook the plastic cup of ice I was holding and smiled, as if to say, “See? I am telling the truth. Please, baby person, trust me!”

Skeptical, she looked at the ice again and then looked back at me. “I dropped it, Daddy!” she said, again.

“I know, but we have more ice!”

I placed an ice cube in her hand. She looked at it, touched it with her tongue to alleviate her skepticism, smiled and sat back down next to me, satisfied.

Crisis averted, I pulled out my phone and read some emails I have no intention of ever responding to. Every three minutes or so, she’d say “Ice, please”—her way of informing me she’d consumed another cube and wanted a new one. And then her tone changed.



“The ice is gone. The ice is gone.”

She pointed to where the fallen ice cube had been. It was gone. In its place was a tiny puddle that had already begun to dry.


“Yup. Ice cubes are water. And that’s what happens when you leave them alone in the dirt. They melt.”

Impressed with this newfound knowledge, she smiled and bounced.

“It melted! It melted! It melted! It melted!”

And then it started raining, so we went back inside.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



AMEN. Also, if you can’t avoid them, laugh at them. Nothing emasculates a troll more than people laughing at his punk ass.