UrbanDictionary is an online dictionary whose definitions are contributed by users. Most words featured on UrbanDictionary are slang, particularly ambiguous slang.
It has recently arranged its terms into categories in which people may search for terms. One of its main motives is to emphasise the defining of words how you want to define them, hence its slogan: "Define your world". Because of this, one word may return many definitions. Individual definitions can be voted on based upon a thumbs up/down scale, and a running tally of votes is kept for each definition. Visitors may also view a randomly chosen word to expand their urban vocabulary. Users can submit sounds of spoken words and images to give a clear, understandable feeling of a certain definition. This feature has been very helpful to some, although it has been sparingly used; many terms are unable to be visualized. Other recently-added features of the site include a "Word of the Day", where subscribers receive a daily email containing a select term, and a chatroom.
The "Urbanelite" and the "UD terrorist"
When authors submit their definitions, they are permitted to include a name or pseudonym, and more recently, their location, which appears underneath the definition. These names cannot presently be password protected, and some names are used by many authors (anonymous and unknown being primary examples), while other authors with unique handles gain some degree of notoriety from the number or popularity of their definitions. The authors judged to make the most notable contributions are sometimes known as the "urbanelite" and have intercommunicated with each other via chatboard style back-and-forth definitions. This has led to a series of on-and-off flame wars on the website. Disliked members of the urbanelite are often the victims of having extremely disagreeable definitions superimposed under their nicknames by other authors trying to discredit them. This was first seen large scale happening to the inarticulate PlayStation fan with the handle of "sony roolz". The handle "sony roolz" was used by several urban dictionary regulars to make the user appear an immature and illiterate sociopath, with the abuse even extending beyond urbandictionary.
Over time a group of users formed into a loosely organised attack group with the sole aim of commandeering the names of urbanelites and writing a plethora of definitions packed with objectionable content, including racist statements, offensive jokes, poems in support of necrophilia, zoophilia and child molestation as well as plenty of statements where the victim 'admits' to homosexual activity and hatred of non-white races. These claims are desultory and conflicting, as are most spatial attacks. One victimised author refered to the people behind these attacks as the 'Urbandictionary Terrorist', believing there to be just one culprit. The handle "ud terrorist" stuck, and today many of the definitions of urbanelite authors that used to contribute to the site have disappeared. Prior to the new deletion system, some of these authors have had all their definitions removed as their continued presence was likely to spark more trolling.
In order to keep definitions accurate and non-offensive, a so-called "quality control" system was established. Should a user disapprove of a certain word, they could submit a complaint. The user was able to choose one of five general reasons for which the definition ought be deleted and to enter additional comments about the rationale justifying the definition's deletion (such as if the definition was incoherent or hateful). Deletion requests were added to a pool that was reviewed by users who choose to participate in quality control. Users participating in the system made a judgement whether to keep the definitions on the website or to delete them by selecting for each one either "it stays" or "it goes". If the user was unsure, a "don't know" option was also selectable.
However, the site's management did not believe that this concept was working as intended. Many people were not, in their eyes, using it to solely erase definitions from the site that were inconsistent with the site's terms of service. For instance, many users recommended definitions of users they did not approve of or those containing opinions they did not agree with. Because of this, a many definitions that did not meet the site's criteria for deletion were removed from the website. As this was happening repeatedly, a new system has been established. Though complaints are still submitted, the quality control system is now invalid, with executive editors now determining whether a definition should remain on the website or not. Now, the site is offering free, non-executive editing positions. Users now determine whether a definition is appropriate for publication, and if not, the definition will not appear on the website. This system had, at its' inception, what appeared to be several weeks worth of backlogs, and is still open to abuse despite the posted guidelines.
More than just slang
Urban Dictionary's content contains more than slang. The names of many well-known figures, computer games, and other commonly-used terms exist. Also, because of Urban Dictionary's informality and anonymity and its popularity among teens, some people define their peers' names, usually to insult or profess their love for them. Many people believe that this does not ruin the site; they believe that the site has drifted away from being solely a slang dictionary, but instead a slang dictionary and a source from which people can learn more about the general conceptions that people have of certain things in everyday life. But, most definitions are rather opinionated and not very useful.
urban dictionary changed on jan 1, 2005
the main page of urbandictionary.com
urbandictionary.com defines "fo' shizzle my nizzle"
Father-"That's it, I'm installing netnanny."
1) The informative, deceptively neutral definition that tells you what you wanted to know.
2) The extremely biased definition that hints at a possibly psychotic author.
3) The entry that only points you to the definition of an obscenity as reference, in an attempt to be clever.
4) The definition that only makes sense to the author's friends.
5) The entry that details some weird sexual act, which probably has nothing to do with the word it's defining.
Def 1: The 43rd president of the United States, was inaugurated on January 20, 2001, went on to blah blah blah...
Def 2: The worst fucking leader in the history of mankind, has the intelligence of the pretzel he choked on that one time.
Def 3: See "Asswipe," "Chimpanzee," "Dickhead"
Def 4: What Mike sounded like that one time at Six Flags! You know what I'm talking about, dude!
Def 5: When your girlfriend accidentally bites off your cock and chokes to death on it.
A practically unmoderated, unsupervised word database, whose users can add their definitions of words they have used, or have made up without fear of identification.
Of course, thanks to human nature, no one uses it that way. Surprisingly, people are upset about this, despite its inevitability.
Which once again illustrates human nature.