The Something Awful (SA) website, generally considered to be the magnet-core of all stupidity on the known internet (and a fair share of the unknown sections too), hosts it's own private forums.

These forums would at a first glance look just like any other Internet Forum where thoughts are shared, flame wars are fought, and people sometimes call each other "FAGETS" for no apparent reason.

The SA Forums, though, are a bit different than the regular old forum. First off, you have to pay to gain a membership. The money which is claimed to go towards server bills, probably ends up in the author's, Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka, monthly crystal meth pool.

Secondly, if you would go through the more recent important events such as the nefarious WTC Tourist Guy, who was posing on a photo on top of one of the World Trade Center scrapers, in the background you can see a plane ready to smash into the building. This photo was obviously a fake, but the SA forum-goers exposed the hilarity of the horrible photo by re-making it in their own ways. You may have seen the WTC Tourist Guy posing in front of The Hindenburg, on the deck of the Titanic or casually flaunting his beanie-clad noggin in front of the flaming concorde that became a highly publicized lawn dart not too long ago.

Photoshop, a commercial computer program that allows the user to manipulate imagery (such as a photo), is often the tool of choice in these forums. Indeed, a special sub-forum "SA Photoshop Challenge" issues an informal competition to remake some photo/image into a bundle of hilarity.

The most active sub-forum, without a doubt, is the "General Bullshit" forum. Here, members will come with their general bullshit: Photoshop threads, rage against "the machine" threads, rage against people "raging against the machine" threads, "I am a drunk idiot and posting a thread at 2 in the morning" threads, "I need help to score a chick" threads, "So this guy at work looks hot (NOT GAY)" threads. The list goes on, every thought in any shape or form is thrown out on this message board, and any response is possible.

SA-specific catch phrases are also born in these forums. Such as "Why you throw chip", "But did you get head?", "You suck at the Internet", etc.

A balance is required, however, by the forum member. As a member you will live in fear of being banned by the staff (for posting something that breaks the forum rules), being flamed after posting something that has already been posted (AKA Timelining), and being just a random guy in the background that noone pays attention to.

If you succeed, creating the thread that gets the public rating of "Comedy Gold", and you gather enough attention of the moderators, your thread will forever stored in Thread heaven: "Comedy Gold". Where future generations of forum-goers will see your ingenious idea when you are long gone. But if you fail, your thread will face the perils of the "Thread Gas Chamber" - a place where threads go to suffer eternally, and fade away.

Another forum "Fuck you and Goatse.cx", is noteworthy. Here, insane flame wars are allowed. People can post any gross/demeneal/sexual pictures they want - with no fear of banning (almost). The reason for it's name is the infamous website goatse.cx, where a man is depicted prancing widely with a gaping anal tract.

There are also sub-forums that are more seriously minded. "Serious software and hardware crap" is dedicated to asking questions about computers and periphelia.

So in conclusion, the general theme in the Forums is basically to be "Making fun of ourselves and the stupidity of the Internet". A place where opinions clash, hilarious threads are born, and where sarcasm is teeming.

The SA forums takes a bit of open-mindedness and a whole wheelbarrow of sarcasm and humor to appreciate, and is definately not for the faint of heart or mind.

"I will ban you if you break the rules, I will ban you if I don't like you, I will ban you if I'm playing Scrabble and I get a triple word score on a word which starts with the same letter as your username. I will ban you just to ban you."
- Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka

Basically, think of it this way: These guys started the "All Your Base" gag.

Now, if you can imagine the sort of person who would find a horribly translated video game funny enough to spend hours Photoshopping it onto things, then you can imagine the average SA Forum goer. These people call themselves "goons". All Your Base was just one of the many, many gags and catchphrases that crop up there daily.

A new poster once posted a thread titled "Ignore this - test" to test his signature. Obviously, something pointless like this is a no-no, and the guy was mocked incessently. Finally, someone Photoshopped "Ignore this - test" onto a black and white photo of the New Mexico atomic bomb tests. The thread degraded in a comedy-fest with people using the phrase in the most humorous way possible

The SA forums are actually full of incredibly funny and creative people (among them several E2 regulars), whose wit and skill with Photoshop can be absolutely hilarious at times. They can also be kind, such as when one goon met a girl at college, only to have her get into a terrible car accident a few weeks later while driving to Florida for the holidays. She was a in a coma for a few weeks, and the goon in question posted an update about it every so often. The outpouring of support was surprising coming from a bunch of sarcastic nerds. Lots of forum regulars sent cards and assorted things like that, and the girl actually claimed that support from the SA goons really kept her in good spirits during her recovery.

The forums' fearless leader is none other than Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka - who is certainly not lacking in comedic skill and incisive wit himself. He seems, these days, to go back and forth between calling the forum regulars total morons (for "invading" other, more stupid, forum sites, pranking a phone service for the deaf, or making PayPal payments to SA with a stolen credit card), and lauding the SA crowd as being one of the coolest and wittiest bunch of people on the internet.

This mostly refers to the main forum, General bullshit. The subforms are cool too. The Games Forum is one of the most intelligent repositories of gamers on the internet (and believe me, most game forums are really lacking in the intelligence department), and Serious Hardware/Software Crap forum is also a pretty decent technical resource. For a while there was even a really awesome "Science and Philosophy" forum, but it is no more, consolidated back into the main forum (curses...)

In order to offset the rather hefty costs to maintaining fast servers to serve the forums, Lowtax has begun charging a one-time signup fee for new accounts, priced at $9.95 per account (which includes a free custom avatar for your account, a service which used to be $5). This is hardly expensive, but it's enough to let anyone who wants to register register, and it keeps out less-than-serious trolls who just want to act like morons. Currently, you cannot read the forums without a valid account. Sometimes the main forum or the games forum is available for public viewing...usually not, though. The main forums URL is http://forums.somethingawful.com.

The following E2 regulars make the occasional appearance on the SA forums (leave me a msg to be included, or to be removed if it's just someone else on SA using your name):

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