Urban Dictionary is a perfect spawning ground for “family UNfriendly” content. I would estimate that about half the definitions on the site are strange sexual maneuvers while the other half tries to stir up as much controversy as possible. I don’t think I have ever seen, nor can imagine, Urban Dictionary removing a dictionary because of its vulgarity. I figured that UD has to have some limits on what definitions people can uploaded, so I headed over to the Terms of Service (TOS).
The first part of the TOS warns users that this site may contain content that is “coarse and direct.” This is quite the understatement, but I’m still glad to see that there’s some disclaimer, even if it’s not very visible to the user. Under the “User Content” section, UD outlines what users are and aren’t allowed to upload. The item on this list that caught my attention was
2. Examples of unacceptable Content or behavior on the Website include: providing information that is false, misleading or inaccurate;
If UD actually enforced this policy, this site would hardly exist. This site contains a lot of content are more opinion-oriented as opposed to fact. For example, this is one definition for Google:
A company that is trying to take over the world
Search engine was not enough
they made mobile phones
they made a web browser
they made a free email service
there making a Operating System
they will soon make a MP4 player
they will soon move into financial institutions(banks, credit loans)
when will it stop?
Clearly this is someone’s opinion of Google’s goals as a company. I would absolutely qualify this entry as something that is both misleading and inaccurate (at least the first statement is). It would be interesting how UD decides what crosses the boundary of being “inaccurate.” If they do not explicitly follow their Terms of Service, it would be difficult to gauge what a user who is in the process of posting a new definition can or cannot post.
One feature that this site lacks is a comment feature. Users can vote definitions with either a thumbs up or down, but the user does not have the option to leave a text comment. I think this feature is definitely beneficial. If there were a comment feature, I could easily users violating another part of the TOS:
Examples of unacceptable Content or behavior on the Website include: abuse, harassment, threats of violence, flaming, intimidation of any person or organization, or any other threatening behavior;
Comments such as these clutter YouTube, Digg, and other comment-based systems. Imagine if this kind of system were implemented on a site where users generate definitions for the most vulgar words/series of words in the English language.
P.S. Here’s a cool video about flaming