I have to respectfully disagree when you say that this kind of thing can be conveyed over the Internet. You say that love means being there for somepony in their time of need... But as much as I or anypony else here would like that, we can't do it. We can say words of encouragement, we can write *Hug*, but... We can't really be there. We can't really hug those people while they go through rough times, embracing them, telling them it's gonna be alright. We can try. We can do our best to try and make up for the distance. But in the end, it's just not possible through this medium. I'm sorry to have to be the downer here, but it's just not possible. Sometimes one needs to shake people and tell them to pull their shit together. Sometimes, one needs to hug them, tell them that one is there for them. Sometimes, one needs to wipe away their tears and reassure them that life is a beautiful thing and indeed worth fighting for.
I've had to be there for people like that more than once. But it's not just my anecdotal experience. Empathetic hormones (Oxytocin, if you want to look it up) are released when you are physically there with somepony you love. Two lovers. A mother with her child. Really good friends. I am willing to postulate that "love", in the strictest definition of the word, is not something which can be achieved over the Internet.
So does that make everything this community does for one another void? Absolutely not. As I earlier stated, what we have here constitutes friendship. Perhaps not the same kind that you would have with somepony in real life, but still something that is more than worth taking into consideration. Taking a few lines from one of my favourite songs: Why is it so hard to find someo
ne who cares about you / When it's easy enough to find someo
ne who looks down on you? And that is something I do believe in. Care. I do believe that people here genuinely care for one another. But the thing is that, as hard as it is to accept, sometimes more than that is needed. If somepony is seriously considering suicide, an Internet community, no matter how encouraging, just isn't enough. They need somepony to be there, to hold them, to tell them that it's going to be alright. This is also why I am often very quick to dismiss these suicide threads as somepony just having a really rough day. Because it takes more than that to commit suicide. However, for somepony who is having one such day, cheering up in this way is just fine. It works, I have been cheered up by this community before. Depression, real depression, however is another matter entirely.
Now, onto re-stating what Frollo said in his excellent post. Love, tolerance, kindness... These things won't solve all your problems. If somepony is down because they lost their job, they don't just need hugs and comfort. They need somepony to tell them to get up on that horse again and get a new one, as difficult as that may seem. Sometimes, that needs to be put bluntly and not in the way that seems like it will make the person the least sad. Sometimes, people need a slap in the face with reality. That's honesty. And if they have trouble with getting by? Then they need support, monetary support. Generosity. They need somepony who is willing to stick with them during their rough times, even if they aren't the best at returning the gesture when in such a situation. Loyalty. And sometimes, sometimes, we just need a diversion from our current lives. Something that will make us happy again, even if just for a few seconds. Laughter. None of these are love. Love might lead to them and they might need to love, but in essence, that also holds true for friendship.
Id est: Internet companionship is a beautiful thing and definitely worth taking into consideration. But it's not the same as the same thing in the real world. And it's not because people lack good intentions - it's simply because of how we humans function. But Internet friends are still friends, just of a different kind. And why we may not truly be able to hold and display love for one another, we can still use all five Elements of Harmony. Because that is what friendship contains: Kindness, loyalty, honesty, generosity and laughter. And you know what? It's enough for me.