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8 take-aways from #TGC19

Earlier this week my friend Matt and I went to The Gospel Coalition’s national conference in Indianapolis. This was our second trip and we both thought it was a great experience. Here are my reflections on the conference, on TGC, on some of the talks and breakouts and books, and the themes in our conversations that arose from it all.

What my hair is doing I do not know.

• Three of the sermons are worth watching once TGC posts them online. Ligon Duncan, Trip Lee and David Platt had excellent biblical-theological exposition and preached with intensity from the heart. Avoid the John Piper sermon. The other messages fell somewhere between.

• The Gospel Coalition has shifted its target audience and content over the past 2 years. They focus less on nerdy, technical Bib studies topics and now write about everyday living, missional lifestyle, applied theology, cultural apologetics. This is a good shift! Coincidentally though, I have moved in the opposite direction as I have fallen deeper into the black hole of Christian academia. I have become less applied, more technical, and far more nerdy. (At some point we must have crossed paths. Maybe last Spring?) At the conference Matt and I could feel it. I love this change — now it is easier for me to share the website and conference content with others.

• The conference had a refreshing and normalized diversity. Worship, plenary addresses, announcers, breakout speakers, and the conference attendees themselves represented more backgrounds than the white evangelicalism in which I dwell. And it was so natural. I am very over the train of thought which says “why select for diversity when you could just pick the best people.” We don’t need the absolute best person to give announcements or play piano, and anyways there are tons of qualified people from different race and class backgrounds who can do just as fine a job. (It is weird that I have to talk myself out of implicit white supremacy but this is America). In other words it dawned on me that on-stage diversity should not be a goal but rather is prerequisite to doing ministry in globalized, multi-cultural 2019 America. This should not be controversial but standard.

• Jackie Hill Perry. I went to her presentation which was good. In her talk about sexuality she put a huge emphasis on the identity critique. And I agreed with it! Something that really needs to be clarified is that Revoice, SF, WH, Side B etc. also agree to a large extent with this critique but disagree that LGBTQ+ labels imply identity. I have found myself reflexively disagreeing with the identity critique (because I fall on the other side of the label debate), which is unnecessary of me. The real answer is that Revoice’s language is being misrepresented and that they have much more in common with conservatives than they are being credited for. JHP’s talk also showcased some important points about intersectionality. Many more thoughts here.

• One person I follow on Twitter makes fun of Evangelical Thought Leaders™ for being pretentious brainiacs who care more about getting the messaging right than getting the message right. Yikes, that’s me! And yikes, that was on full display at the conference. Maybe we should dial it down. And something to chew on: maybe this impulse in me stems more from my desire to be famous and publicly-smart than a desire to help people understand God, his word and his world.

• Conversely, at this conference I saw less Evangelical Celebrity Culture going on than usual. Somehow these speakers are humble enough (and not fake humble, “fumble”) to not makes themselves into a huge deal. Matt went to a breakout with Tim Keller and apparently someone asked him a question like, “Since you are such an amazing preacher, and everything about you is incredible, how did you come to be like this?” To which Keller replied “Well I don’t really know how to answer that, or want to. Can we get a question in here about Jonah?” The temptation to idolize these speakers is huge and I was feeling that temptation myself with some of them.

• On Tuesday morning I got coffee with another conference attendee who is same-sex attracted. We had a great conversation about our own stories and some of our thoughts about the current debates. More than anything I was blown away by how different our personalities are. As in, besides being celibate and Christians, we have nothing in common. Maybe this is encouraging because it means that one or both of us doesn’t fit “the stereotype.” He was also encouraging to be around, just himself. I could tell that he prays more than me and that he has more compassion than I do, two traits that are not coincidental.

• I bought eight books.
James K.A. Smith’s Cultural Liturgies series,
Josh Chatrow’s Apologetics at the Cross,
Hannah Anderson’s All That is Good, and
Elliot Clark’s Evangelism as Exiles.

And then there’s the gay books.
Jackie Hill Perry’s Gay Girl, Good God,
Brad Hambrick’s Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk,
Ed Shaw’s Same-Sex Attraction and the Church, and
Preston Sprinkle’s People to Be Loved.

Honorable Mention (books I almost bought):
Os Guinness, Fool’s Talk,
Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body,
Robert Spaemann, Persons,
Trevin Wax, Eschatological Discipleship, and
Paul Gould, Cultural Apologetics.

The Shortest Verse in the Bible?

A paragraph from my Greek textbook:

Everyone knows that the shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). But is it? In Greek, John 11:35 is ἐδάκρυσεν ό Ίησοῦς; three words instead of two (and sixteen characters). There is a two-word verse that is shorter in Greek: 1 Thess. 5:16, Πάντοτε Χαίρετε, “Rejoice always,” is only fourteen characters. The next verse, 1 Thess. 5:17, is also two words, but it contains twenty-two characters: ἀδιαλείπτως προσεύχεσθε (“pray unceasingly”). Both of these two-word verses contain imperatives.

From Decker, Reading Koine Greek: An Introduction and Integrated Workbook.”  Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2014. 29.5 (484).

The problem is that the past tense word “wept” is much longer in Greek because the aorist tense requires an augment and extra letters at the ends, while in English “cry” is only lengthened by one letter to make “wept,” and that the noun for Jesus takes an article. These both add letters in Greek, but make little difference in English.

Conversely, the Greek imperative has no augment, and only adds two letters or three letters more than the indicative conjugation would have. Not to mention that there is no article, because the imperative needs no subject.

For both of these reasons, and obviously also because 14 just is less characters than 16, 1 Thess. 5:16 is the shortest verse in the Bible.

2017 in Review

Just to briefly list some of the events of the past year…

  • Took 39 college credits
  • Read well over 100 books
  • Got hired to work with an organization I love
  • Heather and I are now dating (?!)
  • Camp counseled through 6 groups of guys
  • Settled into a much healthier housing arrangement at school
  • Started exercising again
  • Became a volunteer at my church’s middle school youth group
  • Lost most of my appetite for politics
  • Considered changing majors / schools / jobs at least a dozen times
  • Actually changed majors / schools / job exactly zero times
  • Coached / coordinated with middle and high school students at: De Pere, Hononegah, Lincoln Park, Thomas Middle School, Schaumburg, Hononegah (again), Deerfield, and Washburne Middle School.
  • Two missions trips
  • Attended three conferences
  • Hosted discipleship training at school
  • Preached 8 different sermons
  • Was sick at least 10 times, the final three being devastating for my body and GPA
  • Completely changed by opinion on Calvinism and determinism
  • Went from 0 to 60 with respect to philosophy this year
  • Started writing a book
  • Became a Democrat? Or something? Not sure how this happened.

And the last point, which deserves much more than a bullet point but which will be brief anyways, is that I have seen the Lord at work in me in all kinds of confusing, redeeming, and sanctifying ways. He has eliminated a good amount of pride from me, and used a few things that were 100% my fault to do it. He has opened me up to a whole emotive way of being. He has graciously reaffirmed my calling to working with youth as a youth pastor. He has blown my mind away throughout the year by breaking out of doctrinal boxes I had held him in (Calvinism in particular comes to mind) (and Rationalism). He has opened my eyes up to seeing new connections between who I was, am, and am becoming. He has pushed me into greater Christlikeness, even to my own frustration at the time. He has shown me how sweet he is.

2017 has been big, even for someone who says he hates nostalgia as much as I do. “Big” not in the sense of containing important things — although that is true. See the above bullet-pointed list. “Big” not in the sense that it is some pivotal turning point, since for the most part I have only continued in a trajectory that began at least six months before. I mean “Big” in the sense of densely packed. The events, learning, personal growth, etc. that happened the past 365 days seem like they should have taken years, not one year, and I barely remember the Ross I knew in January. Barely remember him. I already cannot empathize with him or his decisions, because they do not make sense to me — which is true of everybody with their past selves, but it seems to take more time than this has.

As a hint of what 2018 may hold, I will be taking (another) heavy course load in the spring, frolicking across Europe for a mayterm trip, serving as a Cabin Counselor again at Timber-lee for the summer, and then finishing up my undergraduate studies in philosophy in the fall semester, with the other bachelor’s degree still in progress via the attached 5 year masters degree.

Looking forward to whatever comes next.

Two years of

Two years ago today I wrote my first post on this blog!

It was around Thanksgiving break my senior year of high school that I decided to give blogging a try. It turned out that I never got into it too much, but have still kept it around as a place to host anything I have written.

Here are some stats from my two years:

  • I have written 78 posts,
  • 5,578 views to these posts, and my other pages
  • 3,352 viewers have visited the site
  • my top post ever was… eyeroll… the Unicorn Frap review from April of this year.

I have several dozen posts lurking in my drafts, waiting to emerge once I have finally got the concept down right. The quantity of my thinking and writing has also improved so much since my senior year that I could, if I had time, write a new post each day rather than each week or so.

I have not yet turned on ads, but if I had, then given the 1/100 of a cent per view, I would have made 50 cents so far. So. There’s that.

Thanks to everyone who has supported this project, regardless of how much support that has been or what it has looked like.

Should you buy the Zombie Frap?

Starbucks brings around exotic new frappuccinos in the same way that a black market organ dealer brings around exotic new internal intestines: infrequently, usually of low quality, and always with significant risk to your health.

This Zombie Frap. Did it come around as an infrequent addition to the broader assortment of fraps? Yes. Could you consider it low quality? No. Does it pose significant risk to your health? That depends on your body’s ability to process 54g of sugar in one sitting.

How can we forget the fiasco that was The Unicorn Frap? After that moment, it seems like all subsequent wacky drinks will be forever judged against that benchmark. Not that this would be a fair comparison — it is a very, very low benchmark — but because of how traumatized we all felt.

This drink is better than the Unicorn Frap, of course, but to say as much is to say nearly nothing at all. Instead I will make a bolder claim: the Zombie Frap is, in itself, a good drink. You should get it. It is worth your money.

The green apple flavor did not overwhelm my taste, nor did the egregious sugar content. They came bearing the same subtle, lo-fi mood that I imagine of Eckhart Tolle trying to scream at someone with as much intensity as he can muster, i.e., not much intensity at all.

As I drank this frap in the 3rd space of a new Mariano’s in town, and the smooth piano man riffed on B-list indie-turned-rock-turned-pop tunes from 2014’s top radio hits (American Authors, anyone?), I felt calm. The two year old next to me kept asking me questions about his toy elephant’s feet, pointing several times to the trunk and asking, “why does it have 5 feet?” but even still, I felt no annoyance. I needed to buy a fruit platter for a meeting tonight, but Mariano’s only serves Fresh Organic Local Healthy Artisonal Foraged Kale-infused Plasticless produce, so I couldn’t find a fruit platter. Even this did not upset me, because the Zombie Frap’s effusive vibes kept me in lingering calm.

Brain-colored foam domed the drink, though it and the mocha spices (intended to look like blood) carried little flavor. Everyone can appreciate a drink with matching name and design.

In all, you should buy this drink, even if just to sedate yourself into perpetual coolness.


bad frap


Don’t do it!

This is not worth your money. Do not buy it. Every fiber in your Millenial being wants to be hip and trendy — DON’T!

This drink is, without question, the worst thing I have consumed in the past six weeks.

(Don’t ask.)

Mango? Who would have thought! That the PINK and PURPLE and BLUE drink would almost entirely be made of Mango??

This drink is worse than Ed Sheeran’s most recent album — and if that doesn’t make my point, nothing else will.


I don’t even want to type the name because I fear that someone has not yet heard about it, and by not telling them the name, they will be spared the pain of DRINKING 59 GRAMS OF SUGAR THRU A STRAW.

The onset of diabetes is determined by two separate things: first, the person must already have the necessary genes; second, something must physiologically activate the expression of those genes. The gun must have a bullet in the chamber, and then the trigger must be pulled. For some onset cases, the patient had consumed a dramatic amount of sugar — enough to overload the pancreas’s (vastly reduced by genes) ability to break down blood glucose. The pancreas stops functioning momentarily, or for a period of time, and the trigger has been pulled.

This drink may have the potential to do something along these general lines that may or may not reflect actual medical science about diabetes for which I am no qualified specialist to give you advice. But it’s probably still safe to take caution?

Not to mention that it tastes like glitter and Ugg boots blended with an expired mango and a plastic phone case manufactured by wage slaves in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

By the way, speaking of terrible conditions in other countries, I should mention that for $4.35 you can cover the cost to purchase and distribute one malaria net in Malawi via the Against Malaria Foundation.

This drink costs $4.95 before tax.

An Additional Response to Revitalized Residence Hall

This Letter to the Editor is in reply to the Johnson Hall article in the November 11 issue.
Please title this letter: An Additional Response to Revitalized Residence Hall

This publication’s November 11 issue contained an article glowing with praise about the Johnson Hall segregation of freshmen. The author mentioned a “possible detriment,” which should be corrected to “serious detriment.” I will explain the issue and provide two solutions.

The lack of interaction between Freshman and older students is tremendous. This extends beyond housing, where it has been intentionally crafted; it carries over to the rest of campus life. Many freshmen have minimal interaction with upperclassmen throughout the week.

Hopkins’s argument that “research overwhelmingly points to the need” to segregate Freshmen, and it has become “standard practice” reminds me of my former youth pastor who always made a similar point. Forget being original, or making decisions based on the needs of the community; if there is a “proven ministry strategy,” employ it.

The Freshman Experience planners have ignored one major difference between Trinity and the other schools where freshman segregation has worked: Trinity cares about the development of the whole person. A Christian institution sees no need to divide heart, mind, body and self. Integrative, intersectional experience is necessary for spiritual development. Do we value discipleship? Do we value inter-class mentorship and role modeling? I say that we must, and the Freshmen segregation experiment minimizes it.

This has become a spiritual problem in my own life since arriving. I have found it difficult to bond with other freshmen, and so I have sought upperclassmen as friends. But even these are notoriously elusive, an uphill battle from the start. I probably have gone farther out of my way than most freshman have gone or will go, and even still I have returned with mostly empty hands.

Seeing as there is no opt-out mechanism, I will be remaining in Johnson this spring. Since I hope that the administration reconsider the need for inter-class interaction, they has two solutions: returns to the model used before this year (which is unlikely given bureaucratic inertia) or build-in a new mechanism to intentionally develop these friendships. If neither, one wonders what unanticipated consequences to the spiritual climate will follow.

Ross Neir

346 words.
Please notify me of any edits to this letter before publishing.
Please treat each enter on this email as the need for a new line and an indention.

A Sociological Primer, BTYB Scott Alexander


Over the past year I’ve followed Scott Alexander’s blog Slate Star Codex.

It is obvious from his writings that Scott has a strong background in sociology and philosophy. Over time I’ve started to pick up on his writing style and insights (and his sense of humor?).

He has mastered the synthesis essay. This helps, after all, when your stated hobby is to ‘say complicated things about philosophy and science.’ It’s really quite breathtaking to read a good SSC essay and realize “this is what he’s been cluing me in on for months, and now, though it took mental effort, I understand.” I need to coin a term for this.

I also appreciate that he doesn’t try to systematize everything. SSC has no grand overarching philosophy to Describe Everything. He has some common themes, but Scott just tries to “package an obvious truth in a way that people would notice it.” This builds a “useful model and explanatory tool,” and soon enough you have yourself some amateur sociology (link).

So then, most of his ideas are very helpful, regardless of your political views. In these essays he has seemingly transcended the political and entered into a discussion of the mind itself. This can be described as critical thinking, epistemic virtue, intellectual honesty, or what have you.

Thought experiment:

If I were teaching a class on critical thinking, my syllabus would look something like this:

  • 15 classes on logical fallacies
  • 10 classes discussing readings
  • 12 classes debating on pre-assigned topics
  • 6 standalone classes
  • Begin each class with current events from the media
  • An essay on any current events topic, 15 page minimum, due at midterm
  • An essay disagreeing with someone else’s midterm essay, 25 page minimum, due a week before the final

For the sake of consistency, every class discussion reading would be from the same author. And for the sake of quality, that author would be Scott.

So then, I offer you an opportunity: over the next several months, in just your free time, you can take Ross Neir’s introductory critical thinking class, with some benefits:

  1. You never have to show up to class.
  2. You never have to debate other people
  3. You never have to listen to me discuss current events (unless you know me in person, in which case, you have no choice, as I dictate this aspect of your knowing me).
  4. You have no 15 page paper
  5. You have no 25 page paper

This reduces the class down to just the SSC readings. 10 of them, each an exercise of Scott’s critical thinking, from which we all can learn. This is like taking my college class, but much easier, with unlimited flexible hours, no grading, and no 8:00 am cross-campus trek.

Here are the 10 assigned readings from SSC for my critical thinking course:

End thought experiment.

In all seriousness, these essays have reshaped my perspective on political engagement. Society is complex, and it’s hard to take it all in at once, but Scott’s bit-by-bit breakdown will help you begin to make sense of it all.

Magic Crystals

Today I stumbled upon the greatest thing to have ever been discovered.

Browsing around on a color-picker app, near the Shamrock Green region, I found a neat shade called Malachite. (This is what happens during my Gen-Ed classes).

Now, the suffix -ite means that you have a crystalline or stalactitic version of the original, or at least my fourth grade geology class told me, if I remembered correctly. So I googled the term to see its origin.


This is Malachite, a green crystal ubiquitous across the world. I found this nifty website that lists every location it can be found on Earth (everywhere, basically).

But the value of Malachite is much more than (1) being a cool name for a shade of green or (2) being a cool gem for a necklace.

In fact, I found a very credible website that lists all the proven benefits of Malachite. I’ve taken from their writings to compile this list.

Malachite can:

  • assist one in changing situations and providing for spiritual growth
  • heal on physical and emotional levels, drawing out impurities and stimulating the Life Force throughout the aura and body.
  • absorb negative energies and pollutants from the atmosphere and from the body.
  • guard against radiation of all kinds, clears electromagnetic pollution and heals earth energies. Keep near microwaves in the kitchen and televisions in living areas.
  • protect against noise in the workplace, over-bright fluorescent lighting, and harmful rays from technological equipment, negative phone calls and emails.
  • as a stone of travel, protect and overcome fears of flying if you empower the crystal before a trip by holding it and envisioning yourself in the wings of the Archangel, Raphael. It helps with jet lag, encourages smooth business travel, and protects in travel on congested highways.
  • be a stone of support for airplane and airline workers as a protection against accidents, miners for protection from unexplained accidents, and for secretaries to stimulate clear thinking
  • be an effective remedy for female problems, especially regulating the menstrual cycle and cramps, and for easing labor. It has been called the Midwife Stone. It resonates with the female sexual organs, and treats sexual dis-ease, especially when caused by traumatic past experiences
  • relieves cold sweats,
  • relieve malaria,
  • relieve trembling and
  • relieve Parkinson’s disease,
  • help with asthma,
  • help with intestinal problems and
  • help with rheumatic pain.
  • Function as a diuretic stone and can help cure kidney and gallstones.
  • fight osteoarthritis, most notably in the spine, and
  • strengthen memory, especially for those with short-term memory loss who forget the names of people right after hearing them.
  • treat epilepsy
  • treat travel sickness
  • treat vertigo
  • help in the healing of fractures, swollen joints, growths, tumors (!!!!!!!!!!!), torn muscles and broken bones.
  • enhance the immune system and stimulate the liver to release toxins.
  • as a stone of transformation, encourage change and emotional risk-taking.
  • show what is blocking your spiritual growth,
  • draw out deep feelings and psychosomatic causes, then allows you to break unwanted ties and outworn patterns.
  • encourage the expression of feelings, alleviating shyness and teaching the responsibility for one’s own thoughts and actions.
  • support friendships and empathy for other people.
  • help battle depression and anxiety, give resistance to emotional blackmail and heals emotional abuse, especially when suffered in childhood.
  • encourage healthy relationships based on love and not need.
  • assist in overcoming fear of confrontation, or fear of being seen or noticed, and helps one find the strength within to assume their rightful place in the Universe.
  • regulate our interaction with the external world and controls what we embrace and what we resist.
  • give us the balancing ability to be ourselves within the environment [via the heart chakra]
  • for those highly evolved and dedicated to humanitarian purposes, assist in grounding higher energies onto the planet for those purposes
  • for those in a purification process, act as a purger and a mirror to the subconscious, reflecting into the conscious mind that which needs to be cleansed.
  • absorb energy instead of emitting it because it is dense and nontransparent.
  • if placed over areas that are diseased or painful, draw out the negative energy and surface the causes for it. Because of the absorbing properties, it is important to cleanse the stones after such use.
  • be a powerful ally for those waiting for their reality to change.
  • remind us we have come here to co-create with the Universe, and helps in identifying the steps necessary to bring dreams, visions and wishes into physical reality.
  • reveal the truth about oneself and brings to the surface that which is unknown or unseen to the conscious mind.
  • when used, worn or meditated upon, draw out and reflect whatever is impeding spiritual growth, and is best used in conjunction with meditation to help balance and release the debris that is revealed.
  • break negative patterns of behavior, if you speak your fears and sorrows aloud daily as you hold the crystal, then, leave it in a sheltered place outdoors overnight to carry away the fears.
  • be used in meditations to get in touch with the Earth Mother. Holding one and sitting quietly on the ground for a few minutes helps many people to be more aware of the earth as a living organism upon whom we are totally dependent.
  • be used for scrying. Journeying through its convoluted patterns releases the mind, assisting in receiving insights from the subconscious or messages from the future.
  • hold evil spirits aloof and help children sleep soundly and peacefully if placed over an infant’s cradle.
  • enhance vitality,
  • bring abundance, and
  • keep us growing physically.
  • stimulate clear vision and insight

Wow! The cure to all of these problems has been found! I don’t know about you, but nothing on this list sounds bad. No osteoporosis? No tumors? Vitality? No Malaria? No Parkinson’s? Sign me up!

Later on in the page:

(Please note: Information on this web site is no substitute for consulting a health care professional. All information contained on this web site, including information relating to medical and health conditions, products and treatments, is for informational purposes only. Please see your doctor or health care professional before starting any alternative treatments, diets, supplements or exercise programs.)

Malachite must be handled with caution!

Malachite is toxic and should be used only in its polished form. Avoid breathing its dust.

We must again warn you: use only polished Malachite. Do not use any Malachite elixir. Do not place any malachite in your mouth. If you use this stone, use common sense. Place it on the body with a small cloth under it. It’s healing powers will not be diminished.

If only I had a small cloth.

Romping Through Wikipedia


I’ve noticed a healthy amount of vandalism on the Hononegah Wikipedia page.

Last summer I halfheartedly queried “Hononegah” in the Twitter search engine, and found this gem:

hononegah wikipedia page bot

Following the link, I found these edits; these beautiful edits.

And so my quest began.


This seemed to be a good starting ground:

hononegah wikipedia page starting ground

2008 and 2009 represent the vast majority of changes (vandal or otherwise), with 30 or less edits per year after 2009. The year 2016 already represents a marked increase in anonymous posts from previous years. There are approximately 300 edits total, and nearly 100 are classified as minor. The editor of the post makes this distinction.

From the present, working backwards:


From a mobile phone, late into the night of March 21, 2016:

hononegah wikipedia page vandalism 694

At 6:22pm on March 1, 2016

hononegah wikipedia page vandalism undewater
hononegah wikipedia page vandalism undewater2hononegah wikipedia page vandalism undewater3hononegah wikipedia page vandalism undewater4hononegah wikipedia page vandalism undewater5hononegah wikipedia page vandalism undewater6

hononegah wikipedia page vandalism A
“Ross Neir, Student Council Prez. OGG”. I chuckle.

While probably not intentionally vandalism, this occurred at 3:14pm on February 11, 2016.

Sometimes school jokes appear, like this instance at 3:37pm on February 5, 2016

I am sick of screenshotting. Linking is a much better approach. 5:55am on December 11, 2015 this happened.

From 12:23am to 12:27am on November 17, 2015:

hononegah wikipedia page vandalism collin osullivan
hononegah wikipedia page vandalism ross neirism

I chuckle again. Also note that someone made a throwaway account just for this.

Note that this at 2:20am on August 13, 2015 is neither the first, nor the last recurrence of Boylan High School in vandalism to the page. Within 60 seconds a bot automatically reverted the text and temp-banned the IP address from future edits to the page.

We have returned to this post’s foremost example of vandalism from 4:13am, July 15 2015

On 4/20 last year, at nearly 4:20pm, the account SloanKetterling, who probably himself was not in a functional cognitive state, changed the school’s name to memtally challenged, then to mentally challenged, then back to Hononegah. I am genuinely surprised that they caught the spelling mistake. [NOTE: later on the timing will change from 4:20pm to 11:20am]

Many months of peace elapse on the page.


At 4:26pm on August 5, 2014, user changes the average ACT from 22.3 to 36 to 69 and then back to 22.3.

At 10:51pm on March 30, 2014 a current student was added to the notable alumni page; thankfully, bhalcom, who probably is Brad Halcom, an IT for the school, caught this a few weeks later because Evan “was not official.” Related: Evan “is the best student they have and is amazing.”


6:31am, October 2nd 2013: Does Rudy Reynolds have clout? He did, until “Rockton Legend” became “Trash” and HQ became BO just five days later, at 10:41pm on October 7th, 2013.

Then, from 4:55am to 5:02am, April 10, 2013 happened.

Brennan Steines is a male model in New York, then Johann Hayag becomes the first female (?) soccer player to score a goal, but actually that was Joan Rivers, not Johann, actually no, wait, I think it was Jonnah Hill? As a side note, Brennan Steines actually picks up trash on the side of the highway. Then our amorphous formshifting soccer player becomes Eli Trulley. Scott Hamilton transitions from a male figure skater to a Somalian Pirate. Now a bot swoops in to revert the vandalism, and leaves a reference tag; one of the original two IP address above breaks the tag, until someone else (probably Nick Welcher) undoes them to reinclude the fixed reftag. Now they reinstate their vandalism; Scott Hamilton is a Somalian Pirate again! Nick Welcher redeletes the vandalism. You are a good man, Nick Welcher.

At 4:51pm on March 13, 2013, Bruce Calson won the 1984 International Hula Invitational and Moses split Kelsey Field in half.

At 5:33am, Februrary 3, 2013, John Eckburg will eventually find fame in piano pedagogy.



At 12:58pm, September 19, 2011, Hononegah became Homonegah. For a brief eight minutes, the school had been known as Homonigguh, which had a beautiful fight song written by [a student?] whom I do not know. EDIT: I’M SO WRONG ABOUT THAT SONG here

3:39am on September 12, 2011, Hononegah briefly experienced an interesting change in gender identity.

At 4:27am on 17 July, 2011, well, you can caption this yourself. Also, another example of student names explicitly included in the page during an incident of vandalism.

At 2:32pm on January 28, 2011, Hononegah again finds itself second to Boylan on the page.


9:06pm on November 23 2010, MOSES RETURNS and also some kid won a Twinkie eating contest.

3:04am on November 8, 2010, Katie Henning being hot!!.

4:10pm on August 7, 2010 the twinkie eating kid also was a sports announcer, and at 5:25pm the same editor notes that Flava Flav found his nickname in the school’s cafeteria while eating a sloppy joe.

3:21am on February 25, 2010, a truly exceptional mind notes this.


10:18pm on November 5, 2009, in Soviet Hononegah, you don’t learn school, school learns you. Also at 10:14pm, twinkie kid was the announcer at football games until he lost his voice in a Sweedish yodeling contest.

Between 9:43 and 9:47pm on October 13, 2009, user Jmoney747 made some almost funny contributions (1, 2, 3). Number 1 mentions my brother.

At 8:15am on September 28, 2009, this was inserted into an otherwise fine section.

5:54am on August 19th, 2009, Homonegah makes another appearance, and then it gets worse, before, two minutes later, this same user corrects it back.

3:35am on Jun 4, 2009, DO YOU WANT TO HEAR A JOKE? Also, this actually made me laugh because of its clever wording and sentence integration.

9:06pm on April 24, 2009 Hononegah becomes known for its boogie dancing program. Also, twinkie kid and Moses both return.

Nic Haab, a graduate of the class of 2008, now teaches Social Studies at the school and was here at 3:59pm on March 17, 2009.

At 5:33pm on January 16, 2009, some affectionate names for the Dome entered the page. Later, at 3:12am on February 20, 2009, someone else entered that “No one calls it that what were they smoking when they wrote this.” Also, my brother’s name gets changed to Turd Fergueson. Additionally a fellow Forensics team member receives this sardonic shoutout.

I literally wrote this one myself. At 5:22pm on January 10, 2009. This was me in the 5th grade. Also, I made the introductory part up. George Kelsey probably didn’t donate 1.6 million dollars, nor would it cost that much to build a stadium. He was a coach in the 60s, not the 40s. The rest was true, to my knowledge, but certainly doesn’t merit a mention on this page, espeically one that has remained for seven years. I just wanted to give my brother a shoutout, I swear. Earlier today I tagged the paragraph as dubious and in need of citation- my contrition to the page. (Also interestingly, my IP address has changed, despite my family remaining with the same ISP).

At 6:35am on January 3, 2009, Jacob Clausen enters the page with his notable journey to Mars, paper football and sandcastle building, and never forget, being the coolest person to ever attend Hononegah.


5:31am on December 30, 2008. Caption this very obvious example of vandalism if you dare. Slight variations 1 and 2 before they realized that a bot was automatically deleting them.

3:00am on October 10, 2008, Jenbunny from The Hills makes a cameo.

3:30pm on September 10, 2008 a student gets listed under Notable Alumni as a “bowel movement chemist,” which at 3:48pm on September 12th, 2008, receives this addendum.

11:34pm on August 23, 2008, somebody doesn’t like sports.

6:22am on July 29, 2008 actually did not laugh at this.

3:38am on March 25, 2008 David Brown is the best basketball player in the state.

11:43pm on February 17, 2008 Daniel Rohrer, the future president, and at 5:41pm on March 2, 2008 Alexander Killion, his vice-president.

5:29pm on January 28, 2008, the dome falls victim to yet more fetishism. 10:49pm on January 23, 2008, the dome gains its “affectionate” title.

7:50pm on January 11, 2008, user Owenstiffler adds content about a student named Owen Stiffler, which shouldn’t raise any flags whatsoever. The comments about Lane Horcher at 11:27pm on January 10, 2008 here.




I have now reached the creation of the page.


All of the times are incorrect because Wikipedia’s central time mechanism is not equal to Central Standard Time. I will have to adjust them all. To test the timing mechanism, I made this irrelevant edit at 4:51pm; Wikipedia registered the edit as 9:51pm. So, I will have to subtract five hours from all the above times.

Moving over to a spreadsheet for calculations, I enter the data like this:

hononegah wikipedia page data1

Column A represents month, B day within month, C year, D hour, E minutes within hour, and F am/pm. Some changes need to happen. Primarily, the hour/minute system will not work (unless Google Sheets can compute the values modulo 12). I switch columns E and F and go to town.

hononegah wikipedia page data2

First I add 12 to the hours marked with a PM, bringing them into military standard time. Then I subtract 5 from each to adjust for the Wikipedia vs. Central Time problem. When a value drops below 12am, I continue the subtraction and knock one day off of column B. I then change any 12ams to 0, and the hours are complete.

Next I standardize the months. Google Sheets may have been able to do modulo 12, but it can’t do modulo 31-then 28 but sometimes 29-then 31-then30, and on and on. I google each date to find its ordinal place within the Gregorian calendar, making sure to account for leap years in 2016 and 2008 (note that 2012 had no data).


I hypothesize that month of the year has no impact on frequency of vandalism.

hononegah wikipedia page data3

I perform a chi-squared Goodness of Fit test on the data above with an expected value of 47/12 = 3.912 and degrees of freedom df=11. Note that a X2GOF test is only valid with expected value greater than 5; however, I am testing a population, not a sample, and feel confident that 47/12 = 3.912 is the true expected value. Chi-squared is 15.5532 and p=.15854. There is insufficient evidence to reject my hypothesis given this data set. {4.257, 3.9167, 0.001773, 1.1, 2.1719, 0.001773,
2.427, 0.2145, 0.001773, 0.2145, 0.2996, 0.9379}.

Bummer. Maybe by grouping the months into seasons I will see an association. After all, some instances of vandalism could have just fallen into the next month. So, grouping should reduce this effect by a factor of 3 (12 months into 4 seasons).

hononegah wikipedia page data4

I use the standard distinctions of winter, spring, summer and fall. I hypothesize that season has no impact on frequency of page vandalism. I use another chi-squared GOF test with expected value 47/4 = 11.75 and degrees of freedom df=3. Chi-squared is 2.4468 and p=.485. There is insufficient evidence to reject my hypothesis given this data set.

I have an implicit stereotype of someone who would vandalize their high school’s Wikipedia page: attends that school, is a male, stays up late at night at a sleepover with friends who together think its funny to change some things around. Given Wikipedia’s largely anonymous editing, the only thing I can test is the late at night aspect.

For ease of calculation and for hope of not sheering off my data, I group instances of vandalism into 2 hour blocks beginning with 0,1 and ending with 22,23.

hononegah wikipedia page data5

One last chi-squared Goodness of Fit test. I hypothesize that the hour of day has no impact on frequency of page vandalism. Expected value of 47/12 = 3.912 and degrees of freedom df = 11. The test results in Chi-square = 42.617 and p=.1266e-5. There is strong evidence to reject my hypothesis that hour has no impact on vandalism.

However, I should expect nobody to post on the page, vandalism or otherwise, between 5 and 8 am. Likewise the workday should include less posts. Early evening should have the most posts, since I think that most people have their leisure time then. Without concrete data (and believe me, I searched) I have nothing to compare it against. Could there be a stronger association between hour and average sleep/wake patterns than between hour and vandalism?

So I have to resort to non-test parameters. 16 of the 47 vandalisms occurred between 10:oopm and 1:59am, which is 34% of posts compared to  16% of the day. Very similarly, a separate 16 of the 47 vandalisms occurred between 10:00am and 1:59pm, which is 34% of posts compared to 16% of the day. So, I can conclude that page vandalism happens at an equal frequency late at night as during the lunch hours (which shouldn’t surprise me; when else during the school day do students have extended and unrestricted access to the internet?).

I would logically expect that the data correlate strongly with the number of total posts; since posts of vandalism are included in the number of total posts, I’d be shocked to find otherwise.

hononegah wikipedia page data6

A linear regression of the form y = a +bx with y representing vandalisms and x representing total posts gives a=.024 and b=.138, with r-squared = .8301 and r=.9111. So, 83% of the variation in vandalism is actually just variation in the total number of posts on the page.

Now I can test the change in the percent of posts that are vandalism as time progresses.

hononegah wikipedia page data7

I can see visually that there is no real change. The %vandalisms column has enough zeros to render the overall data incalculable, but even after removing them, the change is probably just random noise, especially given the substantial fluctuation in sample size (total posts) each year.

Finally, I contrust a histogram with bucket size b=40 to visualize the data set. It seems that April 30th to June 9th have very few instances. Ignore the last value since only 360-365 could possibly fit into the bucket, despite its width of 40.

hononegah wikipedia page data8The asterisk indicates that 2008 and 2016 were leap years, with days in the year being 366. Not many conclusions can be drawn from this histogram, other than that the late spring and the summer months may have nominally less instances of vandalism than the school year, which I would expect given that students’ minds are off school more when they are out of school.


It seems that the boredom of high school sleepovers do not cause most of the vandalism on the Hononegah Wikipedia page, as far as I can tell. Nor does date. Nor does month. Nor do most of the other quanitifiable measures I could establish given the wikidata available. It seems that the rate of page vandalism is either
caused by factors not recorded in Wikipedia’s edit meta-data.
And it’s probably the latter, which in retrospect makes this whole quest futile.


I used the Revision History tab on the Hononegah Community High School page on Wikipedia (revision tab here, page here) to find examples of vandalism. I clicked through every revision from 10:00am today to the page’s creation in 2005. My test for vandalism was simple, and perhaps not rigorous enough: in the style of Jacobellis v. Ohio, I thought that I “would know it when I see it,” and although that isn’t a precise defintion, for the purposes of this project it worked well enough.

General edits like spelling, category shifting, introduction of sources, fleshing out of details, and on, were not counted as vandalism. Instances where editors altered common words to curse words, included off-topic references, references to Moses, and posts that generally were too silly to fit the page’s overall professional tone were considered vandalism. There wasn’t much in between.

When counting entries, I counted only one incident of vandalism per day. This eliminated the risk of high frequency double- or triple- posters creating a correlation where none actually exists by skewing or throwing out of proportion the data by time stamp.

It is slightly illegitimate to use chi-squared Goodness of Fit tests on population data. However, given that this was an entirely self-motivated project to kill time on my day off, I don’t care. Also, it should work more effectively on population data than sample data, just without the margin of error calculation mattering.


Bonus Content: on an almost related note, the page saw an immense spike in traffic in December of 2015, the same day as the Dome’s deflation:

hononegah wikipedia page traffic

although the traffic from my research today could likely match this spike.