Even someone as renowned and revered as Stephen Fry can suffer from the implications of these callous tirades. Writing on the disconcerting feelings aroused in him from the untoward abuse that the comedian received via his Twitter account, Fry tweeted: “Very low and depressed at the moment and any drop of meanness makes it so much worse.” Many other internet writers would certainly relate to Fry’s dismay. Accordingly, the psychological pain which this type of abuse frequently prompts is a serious issue, yet regrettably, the matter is seldom discussed.Moreover, football fans are sometimes reprimanded for directing abusive comments towards players, while television and other media personalities are routinely penalised for making inappropriate remarks. Why not impose a similar system to combat those who engage in this disreputable behaviour online?Admittedly, a scheme whereby offenders were – for example – fined for their abuse, would constitute an extraordinarily complex undertaking. Unless a remark was quite obviously intending to cause offence, it could not be punished. In addition, smaller websites with fewer resources would doubtless find it difficult to implement this proposal.However, even if small steps were taken, then surely most reasonable-minded people would consider the internet a more harmonious and ultimately better place. If large websites such as The Guardian’s were to initially instigate this measure, then less prestigious ones could follow their lead.Perhaps some sceptics may argue that this move could also represent a step towards greater levels of internet censorship. I would argue the opposite. Abusive comments only serve to intimidate others and dissuade people from expressing their views. Therefore, as long as common sense is applied by regulators – so that rational, intelligent arguments are not also neglected – then freedom of speech will prevail.