Hasbro has announced it will let Facebook users choose a new word to be added to the official Scrabble dictionary. But they’ve taken care to avoid the dangers of online democracy.
Hasbro works with Merriam-Webster to produce an official dictionary for Scrabble players in countries that use American or Canadian English, though it’s been nine years since the last edition was produced.
The next edition, scheduled for release in August, will not only be the official list of words for tournament play, but will be used for the official online editions of the game such as on Facebook and on mobile device apps.
The original edition produced in 1978 consisted of words which appeared in all of five major US dictionaries. As with previous updates, most of the additions to the new edition will be selected through a standard dictionary review process looking for established new words that have emerged in recent years.
However, followers of the game on Facebook can nominate new entries and select one new addition by public vote.
Hasbro isn’t taking any chances of a 4-chan hijacking, though. While it’s taking nominations via comments on a Facebook post until March 28, the final vote will only be among 16 words chosen by Hasbro from the nominations. There’s no promise these will be the 16 most-mentioned words, likely for good reason.
Early suggestions seem to fall into three categories:
- words people have unsuccessfully tried to play in the past and are clearly still a source of resentment;
- words relating to modern technology;
- words which dedicated players have already got their eye on as potential high-scorers or secret weapons, such as zen.
One word is the clear leader for the most mentions however: