Long before 4chan and other anything-goes forums existed, every major online community had a similar community: the Well had its "weird" forum, Usenet had alt.syntax.tactical (among others), and Something Awful had the "Fuck You and Die" forum, where people were funny, mean, obscene, and gross, sometimes all at once.
But "edgy" has a tendency to become "edgelord" and over the years, Something Awful's FYAD forum has seen a steady erosion of the playfully gross and fun posts, with Nazi shitposters coming to dominate the community, filling it with white supremacist memes, attacks on sexual and racial minorities, and other kinds of hateful, threatening behavior.
Something Awful founder Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka discovered that the moderators on the forum were scared to enforce their own rules, worried that they'd come in for doxing and harassment. After multiple ultimatums and a one-week shutdown, Lowtax has finally killed FYAD, telling Motherboard that "whenever you ban an ironic Nazi, suddenly they become actual Nazis."
Kyanka said that FYAD routinely harassed trans goons (the name SA posters call themselves) and even doxed users, posting their information on other sites. He said that other mods were afraid to enforce rules because they didn't want to become targets so he had to wade into the online drama. According to Kyanka, he gave FYAD several chances to clean up its act and even locked the subforum for a week. Nothing worked.
"They doubled down. They tried to get around the rules. They started making code names for certain posters," Kyanka said. "The mods and admins were scared to death…so I'm just like, 'OK. The end. This is done. All the funny people have left FYAD.'"
Kyanka doesn't regret the decision and he's used to dealing with drama. "The internet is just full of so many sites with Nazis in them. I would like to stay as one of the few remaining communities that do not have Nazis in it."
Something Awful's Notorious 'Fuck You and Die' Forum Shuts Down Because of Nazis [Matthew Gault/Motherboard]
(Thanks, Kathy Padilla!)