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Something Awful

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Something Awful LLC.
Something Awful grenade logo
Type Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Founded 1999
Headquarters Pleasant Hill, Missouri,
United States
Founder(s) Richard Charles Kyanka
Key people Richard Kyanka
Zack Parsons
David Thorpe
Industry Web-based
Products somethingawful.com
Awful Video
City Name Sports Team
MoofWear
Awful Gear
Awful Mart
Flat Falls
Website somethingawful.com
Alexa rank Decrease 4,189 (April 2015)[1]

Something Awful, often abbreviated to SA, is a comedy website housing a variety of content, including blog entries, forums, feature articles, digitally edited pictures, and humorous media reviews. It was created by Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka in 1999 as a largely personal website, but as it grew, so did its contributors and content. Since then, the website has helped to perpetuate various Internet phenomena,[2][3][4] and it has been cited as an influence on Internet culture.[5]

Since the website's creation, it has been involved in a number of notable events. These include a conflict with the Spam Prevention Early Warning System, a Hurricane Katrina relief fund being caught in PayPal's red tape,[6] and an exhibition boxing match between Kyanka and movie director Uwe Boll.

History[edit]

Something Awful was created by Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka,[7] who controls the site and is supported by other contributing writers and administrators.

Kyanka started Something Awful several months before leaving his previous job, after using his "Cranky Steve" persona to write a comedic website update deriding the attitude and work performance of a fellow Planet Quake administrator. He moved the "Cranky Steve" personality he had created to the Something Awful site in 1999.[8] In the years immediately following Something Awful's launch, several sponsors, including GameFan and eFront, failed to compensate Kyanka as promised for advertising on the site.[9][10]

In 2001, the site began charging an activation fee (currently US$9.95) for forum access.[11] Only members can post messages or threads, and until 2013 the forums were only intermittently viewable by unregistered users to encourage new registrations. The site and forums draw continuous income from fees for new accounts, forum upgrades such as custom avatars and access to the forum archives and search features, and merchandise sales.[11]

Spam Prevention Early Warning System[edit]

On July 20, 2003, the spam filtering organization Spam Prevention Early Warning System (SPEWS) added an entire class-B subnet with the Cogent ISP to their spammer list, since Cogent was hosting a known spammer that SPEWS found difficult to block.[citation needed] Something Awful was added to the list in the process, disrupting its ability to communicate with its customers who were using SPEWS. Upon appeal, SPEWS initially refused to delist SA. The Something Awful administrators responded by telling their users to post their support in the Usenet newsgroup news.admin.net-abuse.blocklisting. However, that group and news.admin.net-abuse.email were flooded with off-topic posts and trolls from Something Awful users, incensing SPEWS advocates. The SA administrators claimed that SPEWS was attempting to hack the Something Awful server. Forum users responded by threatening to perform a distributed denial of service attack on SPEWS, although this type of behavior was strongly discouraged by Kyanka and assistant editor Zack Parsons.[12]

Hurricane Katrina charity[edit]

As the website's servers were located in New Orleans, the site temporarily went offline in August 2005 during the flooding from Hurricane Katrina. After the site was brought to a semi-functional state, Kyanka set up a link to a PayPal account where people could donate money to the survivors of the hurricane via the Red Cross. Kyanka put in $3,000 of his own money,[13] and promised to give some free merchandise to anyone who donated more than $10.[citation needed] PayPal stated that they would unfreeze the account once it was provided with proof of shipping from aggrieved buyers. Due to the nature of the collection, there were no actual "buyers", and it was impossible to provide proof of shipping for donation.[14] Eventually, Kyanka contacted a customer service representative over the phone, and asked to have PayPal donate all of the money to the Red Cross. However, he was told that PayPal would only give the money to United Way of America due to their business affiliation; Kyanka initially agreed, but after receiving several emails from readers detailing alleged corruption and inefficiency within United Way, he changed his mind and told PayPal to refund all of the money to the individual donors. PayPal refunded the money, but did not refund exchange and handling fees for international donors.[13]

Shooting deaths[edit]

In 2005, William Freund sought advice in the Something Awful gun subforum about purchasing Hevi-Shot brand ammunition[15] several days before embarking on a "shooting rampage", in which he killed two people before committing suicide. Freund had stated in the thread, which was closed before the killing spree, along with his ability to post comments being revoked, that he intended to use the ammunition to defend his Halloween pumpkins from vandals.[16]

Uwe Boll fight[edit]

In June 2006, Kyanka accepted an open challenge from German movie director Uwe Boll, who had offered to fight critics of his movies in a series of 10-round boxing matches. Something Awful had posted a humorous review that was critical of one of his films.[17][18] The event took place in Vancouver, British Columbia on September 23, 2006; after being knocked down several times and eventually forfeiting the fight in the first round, Kyanka claimed that he had been told by Boll, a trained amateur boxer, that the fight would be just for show. To that effect, Kyanka purportedly acted like a silent film comedy character during the fight rather than seriously attempting to fight Uwe Boll.[19]

Site content[edit]

The frontpage article series Golan the Insatiable is the basis of an animated series of the same name that premiered on Animation Domination on Fox on July 27, 2013.[20]

The Slender Man urban legend was created on a thread in the Something Awful forum.[21]

Forums[edit]

The site is home to a collection of Internet forums running a highly customized version of vBulletin, charging an initial registration fee of US$9.95, with fees ranging from US$4.99 to US$29.99 for additional features.[22]

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.[23] The website also highlights some of what its administrators believe to be exceptional forum threads in the Comedy Goldmine feature.[24] A forum member also launched 4chan,[25] and the Let's Play phenomenon originated in posts on the Something Awful forums.

In 2014, the American Folklife Center announced that Something Awful was one of the sites it would be archiving as part of its efforts to compile a history of digital culture.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SomethingAwful.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  2. ^ "Tourist of Death". Retrieved November 24, 2006. [unreliable source?]
  3. ^ Johnston, Rich (February 28, 2001). "All your base...". London: Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved November 24, 2006. 
  4. ^ "All Your Base Are Belong To Frogstar". Retrieved November 24, 2006. 
  5. ^ David Thorpe, Kevin Pereira (July 5, 2005). Somethingawful.com, Pink Five, Chris Gore (television). G4 television. 
  6. ^ http://www.systemshock.co.za/forums/topic/1209-paypal-blocks-hurricane-relief-funds/
  7. ^ Lynch, Steven G. "Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka". Retrieved May 10, 2007. 
  8. ^ Kyanka, Richard (May 10, 2005). "Here's Mud In Your Eye, Batman". Retrieved May 10, 2007. 
  9. ^ Dan Knight (October 11, 2000). "Something Awful & Express.com". Low End Mac. 
  10. ^ Tim Johnson (March 13, 2001). "eFront: What Went Wrong?". The Duke of URL. Archived from the original on June 17, 2002. 
  11. ^ a b Jeremy Turnage (2006-01-23). "Something awfully funny". Retrieved 2007-02-13. [unreliable source?]
  12. ^ John Leyden (2003-08-08). "Something Awful going on with SPEWS". The Register. Situation Publishing Ltd. 
  13. ^ a b Farivar, Cyrus (2005-09-08). "PayPal Freezes Out Katrina Aid". Wired. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  14. ^ Demerjian, Charlie (2005-09-04). "All your donations are belong us". Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  15. ^ "Something Awful forum post". 
  16. ^ Kimi Yoshino (6 November 2005). "The Cyber World Shut Out O.C. Loner Too". LA Times. 
  17. ^ Kietzmann, Ludwig (2006-09-25). "Uwe Boll does something awful to another critic". joystiq. Retrieved 2007-03-12. 
  18. ^ Chris Baker (2006-12-01). "Raging Boll". Wired. Retrieved 2007-03-12. 
  19. ^ Tillson, Tamsen (2006-09-24). "Boll K.O.'s crix in the ring". Variety. Retrieved 2007-05-10. 
  20. ^ Byrne, Craig (February 28, 2013). "FOX Announces Season Finale Dates & Summer Premieres". FOX. KSiteTV. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  21. ^ Blistein, Jon (February 19, 2015). "Images From Slender Man Stabbing Suspect's Notebook Surface". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Something Awful Secure Purchase System". Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  23. ^ "Photoshop Phriday". Something Awful. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  24. ^ "Comedy Goldmine". Something Awful. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  25. ^ Jerry Langton (2007-09-22). "Funny how `stupid' site is addictive". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  26. ^ Getting serious about collecting and preserving digital culture, by Nicole Saylor, at Folklife Today (at the Library of Congress); published June 5, 2014; retrieved December 15, 2014

External links[edit]