There was a recent forum post by CaptainMurdo concerning which other sites people visit for their PS3 news and it got me thinking: Why has TSA become so important to so many of us? What sets us apart from other gaming sites?

Well, in an act of pure self-indulgence I’m going to tell you what makes TSA so special to me and ask that you let us know in the comments what you like (or dislike if you’re not quite right in the head) about the site. Maybe we’ll work out why we’re so great. That way other, not quite as lovely, sites can copy our winning formula. We’re improving the whole internet here folks, it’s a humanitarian mission.

I’m not going to address the forums here, just the main site. I might do a follow-up for the forums one day (when I’m feeling particularly brave) but I guess that most people find us through the main features and news so that’s where we’ll start…

One thing I’ve noticed about other PS3 sites (aside from the awful design of most of them) is that they publish all sorts of tiny little snippets of info that I don’t think people really care about. I only write stories for TSA if I personally would want to read them or if I know one of our readers that would be interested. TSA does have a decent amount of news, opinion and features but not so much that you are ever overwhelmed by the sheer amount of what I like to call “micro-news”. You get to read all of our stories.

I wrote a thing about a slow news day before Xmas and somebody commented stating four or five little things that had surfaced but none of them were remotely interesting, it broke my heart a little bit that somebody thought I would write up such dry and boring titbits. I know we’re ostensibly a news site but News At Ten don’t give you every tiny piece of news so why should we do it here? I think getting the important news out in an entertaining (I hope) way is much more worthwhile than peppering everyone with hundreds of tiny snippets every day, if that’s what you want, get an RSS reader. And a life.

I find myself really caring about the comments I get, I was made up that people followed (and suggested) a recent series of references that I was putting into stories and seemed to appreciate the in-joke. I love the way I can do that on TSA, you can write something that tips a nod to one of our regulars and people get it, appreciate it and respond. I think if our comments all went “First!” and text-speak or descended into fanboy flaming then I would just pack it in and find myself a dark corner to quietly sob into. In a small way TSA has restored some of my faith in humanity, and those of you that know me will know how difficult a task that is. We have built an online community here that is better than any other I’ve ever encountered. In fact, it’s not just better, that wouldn’t be too difficult. It’s good.

I like spending time here, and not just to catch up on news and read features, I genuinely like most of the people who take part. You can’t say that about many places. I can’t say that about anywhere, I’m well known for generally hating everyone.

We’re also funnier than anywhere else. I know, some other sites do have a go and can, sometimes, be quite amusing. We’re funny. That’s not egotistical, it’s true. I’ve never found anywhere that delivers news, reviews and opinion like we do here. I visit a lot of gaming websites in my capacity as a news-gatherer for TSA and not one of them makes me laugh. I have an occasional smirk at something now and again. TSA makes me laugh out loud every day, where else can you get that?

So, to summarise my long-winded and unapologetically indulgent prose I would say that I love TSA for the following four reasons:

It’s nice to look at. – There has been debate over the background schemes before we finally rested with the current loveliness by our own djhsecondnature but at no point were they ever cluttered, strewn with adverts and difficult to read. We have a smooth, clean layout that works brilliantly.

It’s friendly. – We all get along. I know we don’t always agree but we hardly ever get petty or childish about it. Usually because you all just accept that I’m right in the end so I don’t have to spit my dummy.

It’s funny. – This was the primary reason I kept coming back all those months ago when I was simply lurking and looking for my news. Nofi and Michael (who were the only regular contributors way back then) were funny. I don’t mean amusing, I mean proper, genuine laugh-out-loud funny. I loved them for it and I still do.

Everyone puts up with me. – I’m grumpy, you know it and I know it. I’m prone to a rant and I’m not always the easiest person to agree with (despite the fact that I know I’m always right). Sometimes I can take a joke too far and offend people without actually meaning to. In spite of that everyone here tolerates me. They even let me be a writer. I still can’t quite believe that.

So there you go, now it’s your turn. Let me know in the comments why you love TSA or what it is that drives you to comment on our news and features. If you’ve been lurking for a while now is your perfect opportunity to sign up and join the love-in! You know you want to, we’ve got biscuits…