Beatmaps are moved to Loved by a nomination and voting process.
Members of the Project Loved Team called captains regularly nominate beatmaps for a specific game mode. These almost always come from submissions from the osu! community.
To submit a beatmap for Loved, please visit the beatmap submission page of the Project Loved website and fill out the form. The submission may be viewed under the listing of its respective game mode along with the others. Below are the listings where these submissions can be viewed:
Nominated beatmaps are then posted to the Project Loved forum, where community members may vote whether they want the beatmap to be Loved or not. Maps reaching 80% "Yes" votes at their polls' end time will be moved to the Loved category.
Creators of said beatmaps are also able to request them to be removed from the Loved category by reaching out to a Project Loved Team member or by posting in
#osu-loved channel of the osu! Discord server. The removal process will take a minimum of 1 week and creator will receive a follow-up when it is finished.
There are some very minimal criteria that need to be met for beatmaps to be nominated for Loved. Each game mode has its own specific criteria for Loved beatmap nomination and priority, but all modes follow these rules:
Although many unranked beatmaps meet these criteria, few are voted into the Loved category due to the selective nature of the captains' picks, and the high community approval requirement by voting.
In some cases, beatmaps may be nominated despite breaking some of the criteria, as long as the mapper can update it to abide by the criteria prior to Loved. For example, a beatmap with an inappropriate background may be nominated as long as the background is later removed or replaced. An active contributor to Project Loved will usually post on the beatmap's discussion if any changes are required.
Additionally, contributors to Project Loved often make technical suggestions, such as improvements to audio quality, timing accuracy, or metadata standardisation as recommended by the ranking criteria. The mapper is strongly encouraged to apply these suggestions, but they are not required to.
Beatmaps of the osu! game mode considered for Loved follow the following categories as well as the rules and guidelines below, which are similar to the ranking criteria, but adapted for the more lenient process Project Loved is known for.
Every month, beatmaps are chosen according to 9 categories, with the goal of ensuring variety for every selection of beatmaps by the captains. This category system was implemented during the round of February 2023.
|Popular beatmaps in the community, with at least 100,000 playcount.
|Beatmaps submitted more than six years ago.
|Outstanding beatmaps as determined by the captains, with less than 5,000 playcount.
|Beatmaps known for extreme difficulty, nominated with the goal of fostering competition among top players.
|Beatmaps with full spreads that follow ranking criteria, yet never reached Ranked status.
|Beatmaps with unconventional gameplay gimmicks, such as via storyboards or Aspire-like mapping.
|Beatmaps popular for their humorous content, or with focus on local communities' subcultures.
|Beatmaps rejected in past Loved votings, receiving a second chance.
|Beatmaps that are casual-friendly, with no difficulty above 5 stars.
Additionally, up to three wildcard beatmaps may be chosen from any category, adding to a total of twelve beatmaps per month.
For any questions regarding what goes in each category, contact the osu! Loved captains.
All rules are exactly that: rules. They are not guidelines and may not be broken under any circumstance.
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Guidelines may be ignored under exceptional circumstances. These exceptional circumstances can be justified by an explanation as of why the guideline has been ignored and why not ignoring it will interfere with the overall quality of the creation.
There are no strict rules governing which maps a captain must nominate for Loved, but generally the nominated maps are very well known and appreciated by the community (as the title "Loved" implies). Sometimes a beatmap will also be preferred if it is significantly older than others or contains beatmaps with unique and high-quality mapping styles.
Most of the organisation and planning for Project Loved is done in the
#osu-loved channel of the osu! Discord server. Any questions, concerns, or suggestions may be directed there.
In addition to the discussion channels mentioned above, there are dedicated hubs for each game mode: