the lowtax speedrun

the chief twit wants to break a new record

depending on your age/level of Online, you may or may not be aware of the Something Awful forums and their deceased founder, lowtax.

the SA forums were, at one time, the cream of the Internet. you had to pay 10 bucks to get posting access, but anyone could browse them. naturally, they became a great source of content. comedy goldmine and photoshop phriday threads were the foundations of internet culture in the early 2000s [1]that is a whole ‘nother blog. memes before they were memes. chuck norris facts, all your base are belong to us. fuck, they literally invented Slenderman [2]i should write about marble hornets!

the absolute PEAK of comedy in 2004

as SA grew in popularity, the toxic userbase grew as well. folks who were banned from the SA forums went on to create 4chan, and we all know how that went. lowtax certainly had his misgivings about what had been unleashed upon the internet. this site had started so he could post stupid blogs. a certain amount of contempt for what he created was inevitable, i think.

“Popularity is a double-edged sword”

-richard “lowtax” kyanka, a motherfucker

the golden era of web forums didn’t last forever. the era of social media was dawning: facebook, reddit, twitter drained a lot of users from forums like SA.

these sites all had the benefit of up to date framework and coding, they could take advantage of mobile devices and smartphones. meanwhile, the SA forums remained unchanged for like two decades.

what did change was lowtax. mainlining that much internet is extremely toxic, even worse when you are both poster and owner. the brain melting manifested in very stupid and petty ways.

advanced stages of posters disease

in july 2020 there were reports of a domestic violence incident involving lowtax. the forums revolted against him after this news, something that seemed a long time coming after sweeping bans and the shuttering of FYAD. fuck you and die had originally been the section of the forums to blow off steam and insult other users. but as is the way on the internet, it rose, peaked, and became awash with right wing nazis.

this led to SA being sold, and lowtax’s suicide because he didn’t wanna pay child support.

while lowtax had a background as a poster, creating actual content, musk is the type of person who’d get banned from SA for stealing images. musk is but a reply guy. sadly, the distinction makes no difference when your dopamine comes from being petty to strangers. in the end, a melted brain is a melted brain.

by now you likely understand the musk/lowtax comparisons. for context, lowtax ran something awful for over two decades. musk has been in charge of twitter for less than two months.

these two sites are responsible for so much of internet culture, clearly too much power for one person. being run by the whims of an unstable man is a recipe for disaster. sure, SA survived. it’s relevance will never be what it was. it is painful to watch yet another beloved site melt away cuz some asshole couldn’t step outside and touch grass.

as someone who dipped in and out of SA this is not a comprehensive tale of the site’s highs and lows. if you are curious about the history of something awful, this oral history by vice is quite good [3]of course it coes from lowtax’s and other mod’s perspective, so. grains of salt. also this quora post is strangely comprehensive and where i got some of the above photos.

lolupdate: as i was editing this, new twitter policy dropped.

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comments are on! tell me about yr fave SA posts.

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1 that is a whole ‘nother blog
2 i should write about marble hornets
3 of course it coes from lowtax’s and other mod’s perspective, so. grains of salt

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