(Some of what follows probably repeats, perhaps with different emphasis, comments by David Fagundes and James Grimmelmann, Paul Ohm, and others.) I suspect that in the main existing civil and criminal law (perhaps including civil rights law) provides about the right level of civil and criminal liability for people who post vile things about others online. That belief is shaped by two more fundamental convictions:
A. It’s important not to over-deter speech as it is to deter libel and other tortious or possibly illegal speech, and the costs of getting this wrong can be very high.
B. The rules governing online conduct in general ought to be the same as those regulating the same activity offline whenever possible – and in the case of speech in particular, that (in the absence of the scarcity rationale underpinning some broadcast regulation) the First Amendment should not distinguish between technologies, be it a printing press or a network.
On the other hand, I also think anyone who asserts this – and thus asserts that the recommendations in Cyber Civil-Rights ought to give us pause – should face the strongest case for the other side, which I take to rest primarily on three complementary assertions: