Re: “serious emotional distress”
Any forum where punters are anonymous eventually turns into a hate-chamber. That's what parts of Twitter are now. There are armies of anonymous Twitter users who do nothing except pour bile over their chosen targets 24 hours a day. Sadly this appears to be something in human nature.
If people were themselves, instead of anonymous, they would be ashamed to behave in that way. Recall the sad case of Twitter user "Sweepyface". She attacked the McCanns ceaselessly. When she was unmasked by Sky News, she unfortunately committed suicide a few days later. I guess she could not stand that behaviour being associated with her name and face. If Twitter was not anonymous she would be alive today.
I am not sure what the solution is, but removing anonymity from certain areas might be part of it. Freedom of speech laws could operate, and people could critisize openly, as they always did through books and newspapers. At the same time, their targets would be given some level of protection through slander laws or whatever. Some kind of balance. For the record I am pro freedom of speech.