Policy on how to contribute to U2MoL

Before you contribute to U2MoL it is important that you have read and understood the entire policy I use when I decide to add or reject. If it’s obvious that you haven’t read it I will just ask you to do so. Nothing will be added unless you follow these rules. So, please read the entire page.

Before you send me anything, it is very important that you understand that The Meaning of U2 Lyrics (abbreviated to U2MoL) is about what U2, or more specifically Bono, thought of when he wrote the lyrics. The site is not about what the fans thinks or what U2 later has dedicated the song to (One is a good example of the latter), but what they originally thought when they first wrote and recorded the song. When the time comes and U2MoL is complete, every song will only has one entry, stating the original meaning of the song. Nothing more, nothing less.

Until that time most of the songs will have several entries, some of them will even contradict each other, but that shall not be taken as that the site is a discussion board in some way or the other. It only means that we are not yet one hundred per cent sure about what the song is about, or that I haven’t yet rewritten the entries into one entry.

Contrary to what surprisingly many think, I do not write the contributions myself. At the time of this writing (5:th of August 2001), have I written only 26 out of 270 entries - that is less then ten per cent. To build this, as far as I know, unique web site I have to rely on all the other fans around the globe to send me the interpretations of the songs. To be able to handle the data without having to put down an enormous amount of time, I need a policy on how the contributions shall be sent to me. Since I also want to keep a minimum of quality on the texts I also need to have some rules to judge the contributions by. This includes rules for what I reject. As a rule of thumb, I reject about half of the emails I get – but I always answer an email so you will always know if it is rejected or accepted.

Most contributions are rejected due to either it is the contributor’s interpretation or that the text is badly written – but a fair number of contributions are never added because the contributor never answers any questions I ask about the contributions (which is something I frequently do, e.g. sources for the statements). If I ask about anything regarding your contribution, then it doesn’t mean it won’t be added, but that I find it interesting enough to add but I need something clarified.

I hold the exclusive right to reject or reedit the contributed text however I please. If you don’t like that – don’t contribute.

Rules for the contributions to U2MoL

To contribute, send an email according to the instructions below. Remember, you have to comply with these are rules to to be accepted at all. If something is unclear, please ask.

  1. The text has to be short, but don’t make it too short, it is much easier to read a short text on screen then a long one. Reading some of the existing contributions will give a fairly good idea of what I’m asking for. The more interesting your text is, the more people will read it.
  2. Only comment one song per email and clearly state which song you are commenting. If you send me several contributions in the same email, make sure that it is sufficient space between the entries so I don’t have to think about which song you are commenting.
  3. The subject line of the email has to be in the form (U2MoL) Album: Song title. This makes it much easier for me to sort my emails.
  4. If you quote some source, either the lyrics or something else, please include a reference to the source so others can read and compare notes. It will also increase the likelihood that I will add the entry to the site, it gives very much higher credibility to your claims if you can back them up.
  5. It is now time to add the second most important part to the entry (the interpretation being the most important) – the credit line. The credit line is the last line of each entry stating by whom and when the entry was sent to me. It is very important that you add this line – if you don’t, I will reject your email and ask you to add it. I can in most cases add it on my own, but it simply takes too much time and it is not always obvious what I should write as some email programs doesn’t include the full name.

    The format of the credit line is quite simple (this is HTML in case you don’t recognize it):

    <p class=”creditline”>Your name Your email address (xth of xxx NNNNN)</p> What this means is the previous snippet of HTML code is a paragraph that is marked as being an credit line and should be shown as such by the web browser, i.e. get the appropriate formatting. The xth of xxx NNNNN is today’s date, e.g. 5th of February 2004. This format is important as this is an format that everyone can recognize, an all numbers format (e.g. 05/07/06) is interpreted depending on country and is prone to misunderstandings.

    Please note that any @-symbols in the address is replaced by a image of the @-symbol in an attempt at thwarting spam address harvesters, it isn’t 100 % safe but the best solution I can come up with. Any suggestions for a better solution to this problem is welcome. Experiments by others has shown that email harvesters are pretty dumb and are fairly easy to thwart.

  6. Email me at .
  7. It will take me from a couple of days to up to a month before I add anything – mostly because I think it over a couple of times first – but if it has taken more then a month, please send me an email to remind me.
  8. If you later decides, for whatever reason, that you want your contribution removed, just send me an email and I will remove it as soon as possible. You do not need to give any explanation why you want it to be removed.
  9. A final comment: These rules might be seen as hard, but there are here for a very simple reason: to make my work so much easier. And of course, to make a better site.

Reasons for rejections

These are some of the reasons I reject a contribution. I mostly maintain this list to make my emails shorter and easier to write and to give you a fair chance of dodging the obvious pitfalls.

Interpretation is not U2’s
I try to produce a page about what U2 thought about when they wrote the song - not what one single fan thought up at the pub. If contribution and what I’ve read U2 themselves had said differs this criteria applies (note that U2 sometimes afterwards dedicates the song to different causes but it is the original thought that counts). Contributions that are of the form this song meant very much to me when my wife gave birth to… will be rejected.
Song is a cover

I don’t include covers since U2 didn’t do them (that’s on the other hand the definition of a cover…) and therefore haven’t added anything to the meaning of the song. They didn’t do the cover without reason but I don’t think covers fit in here.

  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Helter Skelter
  • Night and Day
  • Paint It Black
  • Satelite of Love
Song is a side project

This is a little more problematic to judge by, but the band members has sometimes done side projects and they are not included here. The reason is that U2MoL focuses on U2 as a whole, not its members.

  • You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart
  • In the Name of the Father
  • Billy Bola
  • American Prayer
Too short
A letter saying that ”song X is about Y” will most likely be rejected. Try to explain it a little more – but please note that sometimes a song is very easy to describe (e.g. Pride).
Too long/Contributor repeats himself
It is always nice to read a little longer text then just a couple of sentences, but quantity is seldom quality. Long texts are harder to read and it doesn’t makes it any better if you say the same thing over and over again.
This song is about love/sex/religion.
Although U2 has written songs about love and religion it doesn’t mean that every song is about it. The love U2 sings about is not always (read seldom) the love between man and woman, it is much more often about the love for God. Please also note that the religious content of the songs has decreased with each album, it is still high but it has decreased and will probably continue to do so.
Too bad/Contributor rambles
Try to have some quality to the contribution. I’m not very good at English myself so I don’t demand that it should be perfect English – but try to avoid ramblings.
Contributor hasn’t read the existing interpretations.
Make sure someone else hasn’t said it already before you send me anything.
Verbatim copy of lyrics
Some people send me almost verbatim copies of the lyrics and text proving how their interpretation fits with that line. That is entirely unnecessary. You can safely assume that the reader has access to the lyrics and doesn’t need to be reminded. It is seldom necessary to validate your interpretation by referring to different lines of the lyrics to show how perfect it matches. (See ”Too long” above too.)
Contributor doesn’t has a clue
Well… How do I explain this one? I think that U2 is Hinduists in secret and they try to send hidden messages into our sub-concious brains so we will eat more vegetables. The ’Or leave a bad taste in you mouth?’ in ’One’ is a reference to red meat and how bad it is for your Karma to eat it. The ’love’ that Bono sings about is Nirvana. Peace to y’all. Get the picture? (If not you qualify for this one…)
Didn’t follow the guidelines above
If you follow the guidelines above it takes me about 30 seconds to add it – if you don’t it take up to 30 hours and I got better things to do then reedit your opinions.