A great story about someone trying to escape a dread alliance by vaulting out the window with their pet rock is derailed by random skibidi grimace shake gyatt memes.

You would not believe the long conversations we have about the Skibidi Rizz Ohio Sigma etc etc etc

We read a lot of stories for the Frankenstories Hall of Fame and it's agony every time we see a great game derailed in the final moments by someone spamming the meme slang of the day.

Agony.

It causes us so much pain that we invariably return to discussing if we should block meme slang entirely... but in the end, we never do.

Why is that? Skibidi Ohio et al. are so often story killers, why don't we block them in the system?

Screenshot of a slack conversation where we discuss adding 'skibidi' to the Frankenstories swear filter, and decide against it, recognising that what actually needs addressing is not the word but the attitude that leads to stories being killed.

Collaboration & self-regulation

The main reason is that we are trying to develop student collaboration & self-regulation.

This is one of the greatest strengths of Frankenstories! It's like high-intensity interval training for your ego.

But if we intervene at a system level, we take that training opportunity away from students, not only for the students who are writing meme spam but also for the students who are voting for it. 

(Learning to vote strategically is part of the process—it can be almost as hard as writing!)

Teaching skills and values

We want students to want to write, write well, and get better at writing.

And we want them to value the process of creating something as a group by voting responsibly.

heart face emoji, laughing emoji, resigned emoji, scream emoji

Students write and vote Ohio Skibidi sigma etc responses because:

  • They want to belong to their peer group.
  • It's an easy laugh.
  • They don't yet have the skills to write anything better.
  • They're afraid.  

All of these are real needs or real issues, and we think they're worth explicitly discussing with students as a form of metacognitive learning:

  • Contributing to something that everyone wants to share is a good way to bond as a group.
  • Cheap jokes prevent you from creating something of lasting value.
  • You can get better by focusing on smaller, simpler tasks—even if it's just jotting down fragments and ideas (more here and here).
  • We're all afraid of the creative void, it's normal to want to retreat to the safety of familiar memes, but the brave thing is to make a sincere attempt at something new, even if you fail.

If that doesn't work, you can always tell the kids, "Skibidi is beta," and then...

Smash that Reject Reply button!

Personally, I want every Skibidi response yeeted into the burning heart of the sun, but I'd rather leave that to you, the teacher. 

You have Approval mode and a big pink Reject Reply button. You be the judge.

The thing is, we don't know your classroom context. We don't know if that Skibidi round was a bitter disappointment or the funniest thing that happened in your class that week.

This is why we value every single piece of feedback we get from teachers: we don't know how you experience your games! Good or bad, let us know!

Enough Skibidi, here's a killer opening from a class in North Carolina! 🙌

When you told me that if I got punched, time would stop, I didn't think you meant that you were going to punch me. It was the last thing I expected. Now, since I punched you back, I'm sitting on the slippery, wooden bench near the principal's office, waiting for the ugly secretary to let me in while you get wheeled into the back of an ambulance. I didn't mean to hit you that hard. Time did everything but stop.

Read the full story: Wait for the Punchline

Advice for educators Frankenstories