Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Something Awful, sometimes abbreviated to SA, is a cynical comedy website based in the United States. It houses a variety of content, such as instant messaging pranks, digitally edited pictures, intentionally bad web comics, and humorous negative reviews of pornography and old NES games. In addition, it has a very active set of message boards, which in later years have grown remarkably.
Something Awful is the brainchild of Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka, who remains in control of the site, despite the proliferation of guest writers and administrators who have assisted him over the years. The earliest comedic features of the website appeared originally on ARCCentral, but were popularized on Planetquake including Cranky Steve's Haunted Whorehouse, which at that time presented comical reviews of user-made Quake II maps, and other reviews, notably of a Doom comic book, and some horrible movies.
After some unknown dispute with Planetquake, Lowtax moved his personal features to a new site, entitled Something Awful, in late 1999. During this early period, Lowtax created some of SA's most famous and long-lasting characters and catchphrases, such as JeffK, the Space Robots ICQ prank, and the Awful Link of the Day feature.
Something Awful met with great financial difficulties during the period from 2000-2001 that threatened to take the entire site down. Various dishonest sponsors, including GameFan and Sam Jain, promised Lowtax various payments in exchange for ad space, but none of these companies lived up to their promises. Details of the actual financial structure of SA have always been hard to come by, but most goons know that Lowtax has made, and continues to make, a massive personal investment of time and money into the site to keep it running.
The 2001 decision to charge a one-time fee (currently $9.95 USD) for forums access seems to be a cornerstone of the site's present financial stability. Lowtax has likely grossed well in excess of $500,000 in registrations alone, although this figure has not been confirmed.
Modern Something Awful
The Something Awful website is somewhat like a blog in format, in which the sites' various writers post humorous articles (officially called "News posts") that are displayed on the site's front page. The articles may be personal in tone, describing real-life experiences, but more often than not they are irreverent rants, often with a satirical, educational tone. Typical articles include "The Unwritten History of Halloween," "Learning to Cope with France," "Life Lessons: Protection against Molesting" and "Oh TV, What Have You Done?"
Every News post concludes with an "Awful Link of the Day" in which the authors provide a link to a site (often fan submitted) which they feel is disgusting, humorous, disturbing, stupid, or all four. Fetish websites are a common target of Awful Link of the Day. Other targets include Furry sites--a group which the site's writers openly proclaim their universal hatred for.
Other notable features of the site include:
- the fictional cranky old man Cliff Yablonski, who mercilessly mocks pictures of ugly people found on the Internet, or submitted by readers in his section "Cliff Yablonski Hates You."
- Photoshop Phriday, a weekly feature in which members of the Something Awful forums (see below) use their computer graphic skills to make humorous images dealing with the theme of the week, such as "Movie Crossovers that should not happen"
- frequent movie, TV, game, and porn reviews (often selective in reviewing the very worst examples of all), which continue the tradition of Cranky Steve's Haunted Whorehouse from SA's earliest days. The Something Awful review system gives each movie a score between 0 and -50, with 0 being tolerable and -50 being the worst possible score. There are also ocassional rare reviews of actually good things, where the scale goes normally from 0 to 50.
- The Flash Tub, which contains short flash movies animated by forum user Shmorky. Voices are usually provided by well-known SA personalities such as Lowtax, Fragmaster, and Shmorky himself.
- The Weekend Web, a weekly feature edited by Zachary "Spokker Jones" Gutierrez where Something Awful Forums members scout out badly written, overemotional, or psychotic posts on any Internet forum on the Web. The feature usually consists of particularly interesting picks from three or four specific forums, and ocassional topical mix of posts from multiple forums.
- Your Band Sucks, a feature which criticizes popular music artists, maintained by Dr. David Thorpe. This feature also gives out the annual "World's Greatest Dad Awards" (Dr. Thorpe claimed to have chosen this name because he was too lazy to create images of the awards himself) for the year's worst musicians in a variety of categories.
The site also often produces "specials" such as deliberately-poorly-drawn comics, short stories, or "guides to life." Older features, such as Game Designer Survivor, seem to have been instrumental in bringing notable game designers, such as Levelord and Cliffy B to the Something Awful forums, at least for a short time.
Main article: Something Awful Forums
The "Something Awful Forums" is the message board system on Something Awful. Many consider the forums to be more popular than the main website (a running joke is that new members occasionally do not even know that the main page exists). Despite charging a membership fee - something which is almost unheard of in internet message boards - the forums are unusually popular with over fifty thousand current members.
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