"The internet makes you stupid"
—Something Awful's motto.
Somethingawful.com, better known as Something Awful, is a popular comedy/parody website that's been around since the heady days of 1999. Its Main Page features articles ranging from parody, to self-parody, to the downright surreal. Originally, the articles were all written by site founder Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka, but over time it has built up a large rotating staff of writers of varying quality. The site allegedly exists to chronicle and mock the worst things in existence, but has branched out a bit since its founding and now has a number of features and articles that defy all characterisation, as well as extremely active forums.
The Something Awful Forums are the source of much of the site's notoriety. Its members, known as "goons", have to pay $10 (US) to join, and even more if they want to get avatars, access the archives, or use the Forums' "search" function. In spite of the cost of entrance, there are over 100,000 registered goons (and who knows how many Lurkers and banned users). In part this is because of the cost of admission: no one wants to spend their ten bucks just to get banned for trolling the next day. When you add in zealous moderators, you get one of the more controlled Message Boards out there.
If goons are relatively subdued on their own forums, however, the opposite is true elsewhere, and they are renowned for being some of the most sophisticated and organized trolls to stalk the internets. Or at least they used to be. These days, they still do some active trolling on the side, but the troll torch has passed to newer websites.
- Accentuate the Negative: Much of Something Awful's early content was composed of scathing, vitriolic, and incredibly funny reviews of bad movies, games, and, later, hentai. The score system was unusual--instead of 0 to 100, they had 50 to -50, in practice almost always 0 to -50.
- A Darker Me: It's a joke on Something Awful that every goon is a nerdy, overweight "neckbeard" in Real Life. Individual goons, however, tend to make up obvious lies about how awesome they are for the fun of it.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In a Your Band Sucks article, David Thorpe gives several reasons he doesn't like Ted Nugent, including his off-center soul patch.
- Berserk Button: Do not compare them to 4chan. Don't do this on 4chan either.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Goons tend to throw invective around for kicks. Especially the hilariously sacrilegious "what the Christ". However, the word filter replaces "fuck" with "gently caress", "fucking" with "loving", "shit" with "poo poo", "shitty" with "lovely" (which makes actual, sincere uses of the word "lovely" hilariously ambiguous for casual readers: "My grandma is a really lovely person, she gave me her old car!") and "rape" with "surprise sex", along with other Unusual Euphemisms if you're not logged in.
- Complaining About Things You Haven't Paid For: An AwfulVision column once highlighted a pair of videos where a kid who downloaded a Smashing Pumpkins album illegally destroys the CD copies he made in a fit of rage after reaching the conclusion that he doesn't like the music.
- Dead Baby Comedy, taken to the absolute extreme.
- Even Evil Has Standards. Like 4chan, the Goons have done a few acts of vigilantism when they see fitting. However, comparing the two, both on- and off-board, is usually answered by an obligatory "I am offended by that comparison! At least we don't [insert questionable act here]!"
- Feigning Intelligence. Played for laughs. (along with technobabble)
- Get Out!: The GET OUT Frog.
- GIFT: Goons are, generally speaking, not known for their manners.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: The few goon projects that are actually finished tend to be the ones that never should have been.
- Griefer: Goons are (in)famous for joining online games not to play them but to find ways to destroy them.
- Let's Play began as something a few weirdos did on the Games forum, but later gained its own subforum (and recently its own moderator), and has spread across the internet. Retsupurae was made in response.
- Mind Screw: Some of the animations on the site make absolutely no sense. Then again, that's sort of the point.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The general reaction when a Goon made swap.avi, one of the most disgusting shock videos ever.
- Online Personas: You'll find all types.
- Orphaned Series: Goon projects have quite the history of never actually being finished, the best known example being a hilariously bad "electropunk" RPG called The Zybourne Clock.
- Rule 34: The "Horrors of Porn" reviews.
- Satire, Parody, Pastiche: The site has turned mockery into an art form.
- Schmuck Bait: "Your Band Sucks," which mocks popular bands and then posts the most incoherent responses from fans.
- Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: One of the site's Photoshops became the Trope Namer.
- Spin-Off: The infamous Image Board 4Chan was originally founded by former Something Awful users as an Anime image board based on popular Japanese community 2chan. They've regretted it ever since.
- Trust Me, I'm A Doctor: Whenever the website cracks jokes about Ron Paul, the sentence "I'm a doctor," or a close variant, tends to show up as a joke reason for why his political platform should be taken seriously.
- Also Rule 77.