Without making reference to any particular controversy: what is the big deal with talking smack on the internet? I guess I am just thick-skinned, but there are significant differences between being obnoxious online and breaking the law and it seems like they are getting more blurred by the day.
It's one thing if the nasty comments are on your own website; then it's more like telephone harassment because they're intruding into your virtual home. (Of course, then you have the power to delete them, which could mitigate the harm somewhat.) But if someone is bashing you on another site and a reasonable person wouldn't think that the comments evince a serious intent to do bodily harm (which is admittedly a subjective endeavor, but it would seem safe to say that the more over-the-top the imagery, the less likely it is to be actualized), then what's the big deal? Someone's posting all the reasons why you deserve to be boiled in oil: don't read them. People Photoshop your face with underwear on it: don't look at it. I'm sure there are people saying nasty things about me somewhere right now, but I can't hear it and so I don't care.
The internet is full of vile individuals who take pleasure from insulting others in colorful ways. Most of them are not serious or dangerous. How can anyone who has spent significant time online not have realized this by now?