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Journal Journal: Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka takes a break from Something Awful

After a "trivial" security flaw resulted in the compromise of over 5,000 paid accounts, and amid user-base protests over the new security measures (consisting of a mandatory 12 character password with mixed case, one or more numbers, and punctuation - "inconsequential", in his words), Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka, webmaster, forum administrator, and occasional writer for SomethingAwful, has "resigned" from the Something Awful forums.

While he alludes to "writing" in his resignition, keep in mind that the forums have been the backbone of the "front page" content since around 2002 or so. The forums are the source of the vast majority of Photoshop Phridays and Comedy Goldmines, the two reoccuring features that seem to attract the most viewers to the front page, as well as several other popular reoccuring features (such as Weekend Web and the MMO Roundup).

The forums are not free - a basic account costs $10, plus an extra $10 for "platinum" (PM and search capabilities), with additonal goodies (archives access, custom avatars, etc) available for similar down payments.

The people posting on the shithole that is the modern Something Awful Forums wouldn't believe this, but back when Lowtax only wrote the front page and stayed the fuck off the forums, the forums were a really up-and-coming place. Better conversation than your average forum, funnier people than the fark crowd, and moderation that wouldn't fly off the hook at you for posting something off-color. They were the birthplace of the infamous "All Your Base" video, as well as the off-color "tribute.wmv" (footage of the September 11th attacks set to the Benny Goodman theme).

Then Lowtax showed up, and the place became a fucking pit of sycophants who cling to memories of the glory days that they don't even personally possess, and believe said memories are still real and valid. They still believe their forum is "the smartest userbase on the internet", when in all actuality it's a group of stodgy, centrist nerds who are a bit dumber than slashdot, a bit less funny than 4chan, a bit less friendly than Gaia or GameFAQs, and a lot more pretentious than fark. It used to be a forum you'd go to to have a good time. Now it's a forum you go to when you have a question about Windows Vista and are too lazy to register for a technical forum, or if you're one of those folk who really really wants to be the first to post about a shitty over-hyped Hollywood blockbuster, so the megathread will be in your name and you, yes you, will be an internet superstar.

Predictably, most of the people who provided clever insight or just plain humor are all long gone, or banned. The Something Awful Forums are now just another way for dull 18-24 year olds to celebrate themselves and the mainstream top 40 Entertainment Weekly Approved songs, movies, and ideals they so feverishly cling to, while cattishly attacking anybody who dares steer the discussion into anything approaching the direction of thought. At one time, this was solely intended as irony, much like Lowtax's portrayal of an embittered, stodgy, conservative Midwestern hick. Modern "Goons" (as forums users call themselves) seem to have missed the joke at some point, and are now everything that Something Awful once mocked. The dull, the drab, the - pretentious as this sounds, or not - un-enlightened, unwashed masses.

Maybe without Lowtax to forcefully implement his heavy-handed notion of TEH FUNNY (remember, Jeff K was doing that schtick long before it became a bannable offense in Goonland), the forums will slowly regain their former relevance. But Fragmaster (Lowtax's cherry-picked replacement) will have to understand that sometimes, especially when it comes to moderation, less is more.
User Journal


From a post in the "RICE THREAD":

You do up the laces of the two year old, and teach them at the same time the importance of having tied shoe laces. You repeat this lesson many times. Many many times. They might listen and hopefully not trip over untied shoe laces, instead coming to you to do them up until such time that they can do it for themselves. If they do trip, the lesson you tried to teach suddenly has consequences and they might really learn it this time.

Or - and pardon me for sounding cynical - they'll quickly learn to tune you the fuck out, and come to regard you as a nattering old pretentious douchebag. I say this as a Child Developer Developer Developer!!! (though not a parent) and not as someone layin' down the bitch-talk (ie, not someone who's just trying to call you a nattering old pretentious douchebag).

It's my experience that the kids whose parents would do things like this grew up to be stressed-out little ulcers - the ones who, the instant they got out of high school, were making stupid choices left and right just because they were finally FREE of being reminded about the horrors that untied shoelaces and strangers with candy lead to. The kids whose parents were more laid-back (who would, in the media of the time, be portrayed as spoiled fucking brats [c.f. Eric Cartman]), ended up much more healthy, didn't seem to have as many self-destructive tendacies as the former group, were a lot more content with their classes and career-track/whatever, and seemed more able - or willing, perhaps - to learn things on their own, as opposed by rote. (this, by the way, isn't just some guy on /. babbling about his childhood - a lot of educational theorists have written that the absolute worst way to teach a young child anything is by route. Hence the de-emphasis in the last thirty years from the class reciting "two times two is four, two times three is six, two times four is eight", in favor of Schoolhouse Rock! style songs (I would like to thank my 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Schwab, for teaching us our times tables when most kids were struggling to have the basics of addition drilled into their minds - though, as a small side effect, I have a noticable pause on my 7's when going from 28 to 35, due to the lyrics "keep on counting, 35 can't wait"). Granted, one might argue that this is merely a different form of rote, but the key difference is, it's fun, so children don't see it as rote.

Anyway, I could go on for a lot longer, but, in the interests of discussion:




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