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Welcome to FunLines

😊   Have fun making funny headlines!    😇

A TV news interview about FunLines.

Why Play FunLines?

FunLines, a game competition for people to have fun with news headlines, motivates players to sharpen their sense of humor by (i) making small edits to news headlines to make them funny, and (ii) rating the funniness of news headlines edited by other players. The benefits are:
  • Editing headlines: Receive funniness ratings from other players for your edited headlines, see which of your jokes appeal to the audience, and find out how you do compared to others.
  • Rating headlines: See how other players have edited headlines and help score them for funniness.
FunLines is a great way to test your sense of humor and improve based on feedback from other players.

Editing Headlines

Edit a headline by selecting one of the blue words, then adding a single-word replacement that can be found in a U.S. English dictionary and that does not violate the rules of English. You can optionally self-rate your edited headline's funniness. Then, click "Submit". You can also load headlines by news category. Here's a demo:

Rating Headlines

  • Edited headlines are rated on a funniness scale in the range 0-3. More precisely, we provide players a choice of four funniness ratings as shown to the right.
  • Here are some sample headline ratings to give you an idea of how to rate headlines.
  • To rate the funniness of an edited headline, simply click one of the four funniness ratings for it. You can also load edited headlines by news category. A demo is shown below:
0Not Funny At All
1Only Slightly Funny
3Very Funny


Players will receive humor points every time they edit or rate headlines, based on 3 factors, described as follows:
  • Editing Points: For each headline you edit, the more funny your headline appears to other players who rate your headline (over time), the higher the points you will earn. Our Advice:
    • To earn high editing points, make each of your edited headline as funny as possible to a large audience.
    • Only attempt the headlines which you think you can make funny, and skip the others.

  • Rating Points: For each edited headline you rate, the more your rating agrees with ratings from other players who rate it, the higher the points you will earn. If your rating is far off from ratings of other users, you will get negative points. Our Advice:
    • No SPAM Ratings: Do not try to lower others' points by giving their edited headline a lower rating when it is obvious to you that others will rate the headline funny. Such rating will give you negative points, and lower your overall points earned. Be fair and honest in your judgment. We have taken measures to detect spammers, to ignore their ratings, and to suspend their accounts.
    • Be an objective judge: recognize and appreciate the humor content in a headline regardless of your own biases. Some jokes may not reflect your opinions, but they can still be funny to a large audience.
    • Do not rate a headline that you feel you don't have the knowledge required to rate. Skip rating a headline if the headline seems like it might be funny to other people, but you do not get the joke (e.g. because you may not know a person or a thing mentioned in the headline).
    • Judge the headline's funniness as it is, and do not consider other edits that could have been possible and made the headline funnier.

  • Task Balancing Points: Players are rewarded points for maintaining a good balance between the number of editings completed and the number of ratings completed. To maximize these task balancing points, the overall number of headlines you rate should be anywhere between 3 and 10 times the overall number of headlines you edit. Otherwise, you will still accumulate some task balancing points, but they will be sub-optimal.
    • You can always edit or rate more headlines accordingly to adjust and optimize your task balancing points. See our advice for actions you can take to optimize your task balancing points on the My Performance section.

Prize Money and Leaderboard

  • Competition Qualification: To qualify for the competition and to be considered for the prize money, you need to edit at least 50 headlines and rate at least 200 headlines.
  • There are two Leaderboards, the first one ranks the 10 players who scored the highest number of humor points and the second one ranks the 10 players who received the highest average funniness ratings for their edited headlines. Anyone who qualifies and then makes it to any of the leaderboard by the competition end date (Jan 25, 2020) gets some prize money. Here is the prize money distribution for each leaderboard:
    Prize Money (USD)1006040251510101055
  • The leaderboard section also shows some of the top-rated funny edited headlines. They can be your starting point for understanding what kind of editing makes a headline funny.
  • Time Delay: Whenever you edit a headline, it will take some time for us to have them rated by other players. As a result, there will be a time delay before the points you earn for your headlines can be calculated and added to your account. Similarly, whenever you rate a headline, we may need to wait some time for other players to provide additional ratings for the headline so that we can calculate how your rating agrees with others.

Data Usage and Privacy

  • We own the rights to all the edited headlines and their ratings submitted on this platform. We will use the data for research, and we may share them with the research community.
  • We will never disclose any personal information that our users provide during account registration.
  • We reserve the right to terminate a user's account and access to the site if we determine that the user is abusing the platform.

Who We Are

Nabil Hossain

PhD Candidate
Dept. Computer Science
University of Rochester

Tanvir Sajed

Masters Student
Dept. Computer Science
University of Alberta

John Krumm

Senior Principal Researcher
Microsoft Research AI

Henry Kautz

Professor of Computer Science
University of Rochester

We created FunLines with the goal of advancing research in humor. We will use the edited headlines and their ratings to develop an artificial intelligence program that can create its own funny headlines. Below are links to some of our prior research in this area.

From left: Tanvir, Nabil. @Hoh Rain Forest.
From left: John, Nabil, Henry. Learning to surf.