Every definition on Urban Dictionary was written by a user like you. About a thousand definitions are sent to Urban Dictionary every day, but only half enter the hallowed
ranks beside ratchet, Harlem Shake
, and Cleveland Steamer. People often email and ask, why didn’t my definition get published? Well, we’d like to know too.
The truth is, we don’t decide. Sometimes we’re just as puzzled
. Some rejected definitions seem perfectly good to us. Sometimes we wouldn’t vote for a definition, but we can’t really say why. Urban Dictionary’s users get to edit the content, so they get to decide. However, since this is a frequent question, we thought we’d look into how users make the decision
to publish or not publish a particular definition.
We wanted to understand what matters in a definition, what helps it get accepted. To do this, we started by asking users to just describe a list of eight random submissions. We gave people one line of text to describe the submission. For example, one of the words was “phil collins
People described this definition as “Somewhat biased”, “opinionated”, or “NO! PHIL COLLINS
IS THE SHIT”. We collected 69 responses for each word, grouped them together and tried to find the main idea in the description. We continued to group things together until we ended up with eight categories.
pun/play on words
clearly and correctly written
about a celebrity
quality of the definition