Something Awful

Something Awful

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Updated Feb 09, 2018 at 06:33PM EST by Matt.

Added Dec 15, 2010 at 10:16AM EST by Tomberry.

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Something Awful, commonly referred to as SA, is a comedic website and forum community. Something Awful is notable for being one of the oldest and largest forums in continuous existence, and for the influence it has had on the online community.



Something Awful was originally created by Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka in 1999. [1] Kyanka, under the persona "Cranky Steve" was originally the only writer for the site's commedy section, although in later years additional writers would join him. Early in the site's history, several advertisers including GameFan [2] and eFront [3] failed to pay their owed revenue to the site. This prompted Kyanka to begin charging a $9.99 registration fee to forum users in 2001.

The SPEWS Incident

On July 2003, Something Awful was unexpectedly blocked by the Spam Prevention Early Warning System (SPEWS), allegedly due to a spammer sharing the same subnet of SA. SPEWS initially refused to unblock the site upon appeal, despite there being no connection between Something Awful and the alleged spam, cutting off the site's ability to reach a large swathe of its users. Kyanka and the admins encouraged users to vocalize their support for the site. This backfired, and ended in a wave of trolling, off-topic posting on SPEWS websites (ironically perpetuating the spam SA was trying to distance itself from) and threats of mass DDoS attacks on SPEWS hosts. Something Awful was eventually delisted, and the site returned to normal.

Hurricane Katrina

Something Awful went temporarily offline in 2005 due to its servers, which were located in New Orleans, being shut down by Hurricane Katrina. Because of this, Something Awful users created a fund to donate, via the Red Cross, money to Hurricane Katrina survivors. Kyanka donated $3,000 of his own money to the fund, and promised free merchandize to anyone who donated over $10. In the half-day of the fund's operation, it raised $27,695 before Paypal shut it down due to suspicion of fraud. After learning that Paypal would only allow the money to be donated to United Way, which users of the site considered rife with corruption, the money was refunded to the donors.


A good five minutes on SA, shorthand for somethingawful, will tell everything you need to know. Its main center of lulzy by-products come from its forums. There are four main sections in the forum, the Main, Discussion, The Finer Arts, and Archives. In those sections are smaller subforums which then bring you to the threads. While the Main section only consists of "General Bullshit", the other sections have a wide variety such as, gaming (let's play), movies, books, gadgets, comedy, and more.

The forums have helped to perpetuate Internet memes, such as All your base are belong to us and Tourist guy. The forum's users refer to themselves as "Goons". A weekly activity is "Photoshop Phriday", where users will modify existing images to create parodies through the use of image-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop. Another periodic activity is "The Blue Ball Machine", where users create animated images that tile together in such a way as to appear like a seamless whole; these tiles are incorporated into a screensaver which displays them in random order. The feature gained popularity when users on the website YTMND looped the animation to music from Pee-wee's Big Adventure. The website also highlights some of what its administrators believe to be exceptional forum threads in the Comedy Goldmine feature. A forum member also launched 4chan.

During Entertainment Weekly's 2001 "Entertainer of the Year" contest, in which votes are submitted online, forum users quickly found a weakness in the voting system, and scripts were written to vote for Kyanka dozens of times per second, thus ensuring his victory. Kyanka was quickly disqualified when Entertainment Weekly found that many of the votes were coming from very few IP addresses. Kyanka did, however, get his name mentioned on their website.

Online Reputation

Something Awful has a reputation for being a "meme factory". All Your Base Are Belong To Us is one example of a meme popularized by SA forum Goons. Something Awful also has something of a reputation for griefing. [4] 4chan found moot frequented Something Awful forums before he created his own site. [5]

External References

[1] Interview with Richard Kyanka- Hypothermia

[2] LowEndMac- Something Awful &

[3] The Duke of URL- Efront

[4] Mutilated Furries, Flying Phalluses

[5] The Star- Funny how 'Stupid' Site is Addictive

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