Afternoon Inquisition 9.16

I’m a big fan of flying one’s geek flag.  I think getting your geek on helps other people really see who you are, and you have fun in the meantime regardless.  Recently someone asked me if there was a pariah of the world of geekery.    Is some form of geek the 98-pound weakling in the eyes of the rest of us?

So, today’s question is a twofer:

1) What kind of geek are you, if you identfy as a geek?

2) Is there a hierarchy for geekdom?


A B Kovacs is the Director of Døøm at Empty Set Entertainment, a publishing company she co-founded with critical thinker and fiction author Scott Sigler. She considers herself a “Creative Adjacent” — helping creative people be more productive and prolific by managing the logistics of Making for the masses. She's a science nerd, a rabid movie geek, and an unrepentantly voracious reader. She doesn't like chocolate all that much.

Related Articles


  1. Well, I’m a Computer Geek, a Boardgame Geek, a SciFi Geek,…

    I don’t think there is an hierarchy. Almost every type of geek consider all the other geek-types more geeky so it kind of averages out. :-)

  2. 1) I don’t consider myself one (I’m not cool enough, to be honest), but I’ve been described as a gamer geek

    2) Insofar as all geeks consider their own sphere superior to all others, sure. I suppose if you were to count furries as geeks (a subcategory of cosplayers, perhaps), then they’d be at the bottom of many lists. Even that’s arguable, though.

  3. I’m like the cool geek that the other geeks look up to. I’m like the fonzy of geeks.

    And yes there definitely is a heirarchy and at the very bottom is fanfic geeks.

  4. 1. I call myself a “Renaissance nerd” because I have widely spread geeky interests but nothing goes too deep.

    2. There’s a hierarchy of geekdom. Just when you think you’ve heard of the geekiest thing ever, you learn that there are people who write slash fanfic about the Monkees.
    It’s kind of like the fetish axiom: “If you can think of it, it already exists and has a website.” With geekiness, if you can think of it, somebody’s LARPed it.

  5. I’m not a scifi geek, but I’ve played one on a podcast. At least, I was told by many of the listeners that I wasn’t a “geek” because I didn’t love, well… everything.

    Or is that more of a “fan”? When we say “fan” are we really talking about the abbreviation of “fanatic”? If so, I’m certainly not one of those. Unless being a fan of A counts.

    Now I can geek out with the best of them on several topics, but tend to RUN THE HELL AWAY when the transition from geekdom to fandom. Takes place. Or are these just arbitrary divisions that I’M creating to try and group myself in with the less-socially-awkward?

    If you ask my “mundane” friends, they’d certainly call me a geek. But my fandom friends have the opposite opinion. Guess I’m a Purg?

  6. Well when my oldest son was diagnoised with asperger’s syndrom I read up on it and found out that there was a word to describe people like me. It is a very erie feeling to read a clinical book that describes you with such accuracy. From what I can see is that people with asperger’s fit into geekdom. I can’t think of a better time in history to be a geek. Suddenly were sexy and I was able to get crazy action between my two marriages. I guess I would be a comic book geek and a sex geek. Could someone be a parent geek? If so that would probably by my geek prime as it has overridden my desire for sex and comics everytime. And geeks don’t have to be 98 pound weaklings. I was/am the 6’6″ 250 pound, weight lifting, 5k running, martial arts practicing geek who stomps bullies into mudholes and then intoduces said bullies ex-girlfriends to good sex.

  7. @ Amanda “…you learn that there are people who write slash fanfic about the Monkees.”
    Really?! That made me laugh out loud!

    Geek, nerd. I dunno what I am. I gave up trying to figure that out years ago.

  8. I am a paper & pen RPG geek, I doubt I’m a sci-fi geek because, though I love me some sci-fi, I don’t have the level of dedication that others do.

    However, I am a Doctor Who geek.

    Oh, and I am the only archaeologist I know who’d rather be playing with data and writing reports at the lab than camping and hiking. I figure that counts for some geek points.

  9. @Amanda: I’m a “Renaissance Nerd” as well. There’s not enough time in the world to be as geeky/nerdy as I might be about all of the things I like. I grew up on Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and Monty Python but not Star Trek or Dr. Who or Red Dwarf. I listen to 6 hours of podcasts a day (mostly about science) but don’t read tons of sci fi or what have you. I watch about seven Netflixed movies/tv shows a week, but still don’t know enough to compete with most movie people or tv watchers.

    Oh, and I play World of Warcraft but only for fun, not as a lifestyle like most of the people (aka 13 year olds) I encounter in game.

    So I’m sort of a widely spread geek/nerd and, as a result, I’m never the geekiest kid in the room and end up having to bow out pretty early from most nerdological conversations. Does that make me a bad geek? WHO CAN SAY? :)

  10. I put “geek dilettante” on my DeviantArt ID, way back when, and I still can’t find a better description for my geekitude. I become interested in something, geek out about it for a while, learn what it can teach me, then move on to (okay, become distracted by) something new (and possibly shiny).

    Version: 3.1
    GCS d+(-) s-: a C+++>++++$ US+++$ P++++ L++>+++ !E W+++ N+++ o K w !O M V- PS++@ PE++ Y++ PGP++ T+(-) !5 !X R+ tv+ b+++ DI++++ D++ G+ e+++ h— r+++ y++++

  12. I have to admit that I pulled this from a .sig from The Old Days[tm] and there is probably an updated version I haven’t bothered researching.

  13. I always liked a saying regarding this distinction:

    “Nerds get beat up after school. Geeks work in the circus, biting the heads off of live chickens.”

    I’d say I fall somewhere between those two extremes. It’s been a long time since high school, and even then I was hanging out with the “metalheads” but was way nerdier than they were. I’m a gaming geek, sci-fi geek, pen-and-paper RPG geek, science geek, computer geek…

    This also reminds me of the good old geek code, a convenient way to communicate in geekily exacting detail what kind of geek you are, though portions of it are hopelessly outdated…

    GCS/IT$/S d++++ C++++$ UL+++H++++$S+++A++ P L++++(+) E— W++ N+ o? K- w+ !O M- V– PS++@ PE@ Y+>++ PGP@ t+ 5+@ X R@ tv– b++@ DI++++ D++ G e+ h— r+++ y+++*

  14. Watching the term “geek” rise from bottom-rung of the totem pole to term of endearment was one of the more interesting cultural phenomena I’ve experienced.

    I think we all have our personal hierarchies of geekdom, and that there are some general trends therein that place some (Computer Geeks, for example) on top of others (Pokémon Geeks, for example).

    For my money, Engineer Geeks get top billing (I am not one). The ability to make cool stuff just puts them on top. Anyway, they’re followed by Science Geeks (for knowing cool stuff), then Programmer Geeks (for making cool stuff virtually), then Computer Geeks (for keeping our cool stuff running)… from there, it gets fuzzy: there is prestige in those arenas, where there really isn’t in “Sci Fi” and “Fandom” and “Slash” and “Furries”. I don’t even know if I’m comfortable thinking of those last three as “true” geeks. They’re just proud misfits. ; )

    Anyway: I have never been one to fully own my geekdom. It’s always made me really uncomfortable… though I wouldn’t trade it for popularity if you threw in a winning lottery ticket. Nevertheless, I tend to try and “fit in” as much as I can. …Which is to say, not very well. But I try.

    Okay, this comment was completely pointless. Sorry. At least I weighed in today. ; )

  15. @khyron42,

    As I was searching for an old .sig I passingly thought of adding an i variable for iPods, a g variable for using google for various things like math conversions, etc, etc.

    I do think it is semi-useful in a fun kind of way. In fact I think skepchick is just the forum to embrace an updated version.

  16. To me, Geek is a state of mind. Subject is incidental. And yes, I am a geek. I’ve been a geek long enough to have iterated my focus several times.

    There is a hierarchy of geekdom. Ranking varies but one’s own flavor of geek is always at the top.

  17. Hopeless SciFi Geek, and I guess if it’s possible I’m a Improv geek now.

    As for hierarchy I hope not, it should be all for one and one for all. Well except for those Ren Faire geeks they’re just weird.

  18. @Expatria,

    No apologies necessary, I’ve been hearing that since my first days boot-strapping a PDP11 by hand. I’m sure there’s a PDP8 geek reading this who’s shaking his head at my newbie PDP11 knowledge.

    I looked into the geek code, looks like the last official update was: Last updated: March 5, 1996

  19. @Chupacabras:

    Does sleeping in a Skepchick thong and waxing my bikini line make me a geek?

    After our Skepchick pillow fights, we fall asleep together while wearing our Skepchick thongs.

    If you’re a geek, so are we… one big sexy smart pile of girl geeks in thongs…

  20. Haven’t done my geek code for a while. Here’s mine (I think):
    GS/E d+ s-: a+ C++$ L W++ w PS+ PE- Y+ t+ 5 X R- tv+ b+ DI++ D G e* h r y++

  21. Ooh, geek codes. I’ll play! Note that most of the categories are now horribly out of date. I mean, really, Doom?

    GCS/IT/S d- s+: a C++$ B++++ P++ L+ E- W+++ N* w+++ O- M- V+ PS++ PE Y+ PGP t+ 5++ X++ R tv b++ DI++++ D++ G++ e++ h— r+++ z++++

  22. I would take “Doom” to mean “On Line Shooter” but there needs to be a MMORPG variable, right? Like I said, it needs polishing.

  23. @JRice: Maybe so. My friends consider me a geek simply because I — gasp! — know stuff. I read science blogs and news so that’s enough to make me a geek. I took a Skeptic magazine to the beach last week and got laughed at. I find that extremely depressing.

    I guess I am pretty geeky though, but I was a late bloomer. Sea Quest DVS was my first introduction to the wonderful world of sci-fi, followed by the Stars of Trek, Gate, and Wars (in that order). I was always into video games in a moderate way. Big movie buff. More recently into comics, D&D, and WoW.

    But like a few others have mentioned, I’m not so geeky that other geeks would think I was “cool”. I could hold my own for a while, but I’m sure lots of people could eventually geek me under the table. So I guess I’ll put my name in the pool for renaissance geek as well.

  24. I suppose I am a computer geek. My wife and I used to flirt together using unix talk… while we worked on adjacent workstations. We would hack each others X11 desktop each morning to show our love and computer savvy (although hacking X is no big deal).

    As for proving my geek cred, ain’t no time for that. Between the work and the geeklings, I have no more free time to geek out anymore.

  25. @msd:
    Well, Doom was technically not an “online” shooter in the sense that its network play was limited to LAN and null-modem. You could play over the internet by faking an IPX network, but it didn’t handle latency very well. 3D shooter or FPS would be a better description. But there’s no general video gaming, or even gaming, category, much less a sub-category for game genre. That’s the problem with the Geek Code. It’s too specific to be useful.

    Honestly, the whole thing needs to be abstracted into broader categories, then encoded in binary so we can represent it as a hex string for compactness.

  26. Geek v Nerd

    Both appreciate Star Wars, but Nerds know why the science is bad.

    However, if someone was to build a working Millennium Falcon, it’d be a Geek.

    Nerds know why an LHC works, Geeks don’t.

    Geeks can build and repair an LHC, Nerds can’t.

    Both like science fiction, but Nerds know who Poul Anderson is.

    Nerds are to theory as Geeks are to the applied sciences.

    Nerd is good, Nerdy is bad, Geek is good, Geeky is bad, much as Artist is good and Arty is bad.

    Both are more likely to attract quality mates than their normal counterparts, who exist mainly to provide entertainment for the higher-level Geek/Nerd population.

  27. I guess I’m a booze geek and a sex geek.

    And not like “hey geeks get me drunk and do me” (not that it wouldn’t be fun), but in that I truly love working with, creating and experimenting with drinks, coming up with interesting and eclectic cocktails. And I find the subject of sex, sexuality and the science of sex to be fascinating.

  28. I’m a librarian geek! I have to look everything up and I know how to catalogue it. My friends used to challenge me by giving me a three digit number and I would tell them what books would use that number for Dewey classification. I’m not sure if that makes me awesome or just plain wierd. But then, I guess that’s basically what a geek is: awesome and wierd.

    Oh and my friends and I made costumes for when we went to Lord of the Rings, but that was one-time only. We got in the papers though.

  29. I carry a book with me almost everywhere i go, including bars and parties and such. I’m pretty sure i’m a nerd.

    That being said, i can’t currently come up with a succinct distinction between “geek” and “nerd,” despite labeling myself as a nerd almost unconsciously. I think maybe nerds are more academic, overall? As in, writing research papers and trying their damnedest to use correct grammar? Hell, i don’t know.

  30. @adrebellious: “I carry a book with me almost everywhere i go, including bars and parties and such.”

    I do that too … And most of the time, I don’t even actually read the book – it’s like I’m carrying it just in case I might get bored – I suppose that’s not a good thing to be communicating to my friends.

  31. I’m a music nerd with a sick fondness for analyzing music. My students appreciate that when they’re getting ready for an entrance exam, but that’s pretty much the only time. I also like repairing woodwind instruments, but I’m not sure if that comes under the heading of geek.

    I’m also an electronics geek. Put me in front of a bench with a circuit board, components and a soldering iron and I’ll be happy for days.

  32. @adrebellious: I carry a book with me almost everywhere i go, including bars and parties and such.

    Yeah, but I carry a notebook and pen everywhere I go which I write in as conspicuously as possible.

  33. 1) I’m defo a Science/Maths geek. I do sciencing for a living and got my First Class Maths degree “to fill my spare time” after my bezzy/house-mate from grad school moved out to get married.

    2) Of course there’s a hierarchy. ‘Real’ geekery at the top, Science, Maths, Engineering, followed by Computer geekery (which is just obsession with a complex toy) followed by pseudo-geekery, which is just obession of any type, warcraft, butterflies, stamps, music, sci-fi etc etc

  34. Oh, I should have added that most geeks are serveral types of geek at the same time. I’m primarily a type I geek, with elements of computer geekery and sci-fi geekery.

    Sci-fi is certainly the gateway geekery to the harder forms of geek

  35. This is a really difficult question for me.

    I love SciFi, Science, am an artist and web designer but only know HTML, I have worked for the same Aerospace company for over 26 years, and I love computers, but only for what they can do for me rather than loving them for themselves. In other words, computers are tools to me, just like a hammer or screwdriver. I am a serious caffiene and nicotine addict. I live alone and LIKE it that way but sure would like to try sex with a partner once in a while. I collect die-cast cars and Star Trek collectables. (I have a tricorder and Enterprise model [TOS] from Master Replicas- Awesome!)

    I don’t know if all that adds up to geek or not. I used to think I was a geek but thought my friends, family and co-workers thought I was a nerd. Then I talked to them and found out that most people just think I’m a DORK. sigh…

  36. I’d like to say that I am a “Renaissance Geek” but I’m really more of a “Buffet Geek”; taking small portions from most without really going full bore into any one. That said, the categories I would most fit into would be Music, Sci-fi and Gamer, probably in that order. Altough I am currently reading the middle book in the first trilogy of a tetralogy of alternative-history fiction (which I usually carry with me), so maybe there’s hope for me yet.

  37. Elyse, I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a sex geek, is there? I mean, either that, or we’re all sex geeks, right?

    I’m loving all the self-identifying goodness, and the fact that very few folks give a damn about the hierarchy…that’s the spirit!

    Also, in case you care, I’d self-identify as a science geek, sci-fi geek, and a movie geek.

    Oh, and sex geek. Duh.

    P.S. Evo I’m totally a fan of Evo. Just sayin’.

  38. Yeah, “Renaissance Geek” works for me.

    I liked LOTR (and liked Eowyn best) before the movies, and brought the trilogy along on my honeymoon.

    In my twenties, I spent hours painting tiny figurines for D&D games. (I still haven’t finished that flame mage.)

    I watched Return of the Jedi in the theatre the first time it came out, and can still quote large parts of the REAL Star Wars movies (Episodes IV-VI) along with them.

    I think Jar-Jar Binks is an abomination. That doesn’t really have to do with my geekiness, it just needed to be said.

    I have hosted RPGs at my home, as an adult.

    I have watched every single episode of SG-1 and most of the Special Features on the DVD sets, and have read (but not written) fanfic for that series.

    I have gone to a party in a renaissance princess dress (as an adult).

    If there is such thing as a classical music geek, then I am one.

    My celebrity crushes have included Mark Hamill (hey, I was twelve, give me a break), Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Viggo Mortensen, and David Tennant.

    I’m the same way with books … I read them at the dinner table, in the bathroom, in the tub, at the beach, in line at the grocery store, in a train, in the rain (while on walks, with a plastic bag over them to protect the pages), in a box, with a fox … ;)

    However, I have never gotten WAY overboard with any of these (such as a friend of mine whose daughter’s middle name is after a Superman character), and I am definitely NOT a computer geek. So I dunno … only moderately geeky, I guess.

  39. @a.real.girl:
    No not everyone is a sex geek. That’s why I identified myself as one in my first comment. I don’t think that many people are sex geeks. They like sex but they don’t get all that deep into it. They know a few positions and think they are unbearably kninky if they play tie up, blindfold and spank. They can’t imagine something that is beyond what they see in an internet porn download. Most people don’t even seem to understand what sex really is. At least they don’t think of it the same way that I do. Sex isn’t love, sex isn’t a path to an orgasm. Sex isn’t about showing off. Sex isn’t about how well you do sex. Sex is about a tiny portion of time where you are absolutly vulnerable with another person or persons. Where you aren’t alone, where you are part of another person or people. Sex is a step away from our tiny worlds and out into the greater world out into the universe.

  40. Lets combine two posts:

    >>Elyse, I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a sex geek, is there? I mean, either that, or we’re all sex geeks, right?<>Geek v Nerd

    Both appreciate Star Wars, but Nerds know why the science is bad.

    However, if someone was to build a working Millennium Falcon, it’d be a Geek.<<

    So, the sex NERD knows where the g spot is, the physiology of an orgasm, the psychology of sexual relationships, the sociology of monogomy vs non monogomy … but it’s the sex GEEK who ya wanna lay? :)

  41. I am indutibly a Film Geek (and to a lesser degree TV geek). I am also surrounded by ‘us’ in my everyday life to the point that I really seem to think it’s normal – until I find myself among civilians and realise (Often after hours of being the boring guy droning on about how David Fincher double framed ‘John Doe’ in Se7en with the outer frame incongruously moving from right to left around the rearview mirror which makes the inner frame, thus echoing the chaos of his insanity… I’m doing it again, aren’t I?)
    I’m also a Sci-Fi geek, but it is heavily camoflaged in the Film-geek. I am also a Skep-geek, but who isn’t here? (Woo hoo! Skeptics in the Pub, Vancouver tonight! I can hardly wait!)

    I may be totally deluded, but I think Film geekery is pretty low on the hierarchy. It doesn’t have a lot of cred as geekery as film itself is so ubiquitous. The degree to which the true film geek takes it (most of us end up in the business it seems… or is it the other way around?) is what makes it geeky. And that so many film-geeks are in the business, we get away with a bit of a free-pass in real society (no wonder it’s so low on the hierarchy) as there are a lot of civilians who think it’s really cool that we make films (it’s not, really – but we’re happy to indulge the illusion – it’s actually a lot of hard boring drugery… yet we somehow love it, it’s kind of a sickness.)
    Sickness… yes I suppose it’s that fetishism that makes it geeky.

    So, hey, how many cuts do you think there are in the ‘ping-pong ball / burning-car attack’ faux ‘single-shot’ scene in Children of Men? I’m doing it again, aren’t I?

  42. I’m probably more nerd than geek. Definitely enjoy scifi but have been into horror both film and book and satire (I have actually read some Wodehouse, along with being a fan of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams). I don’t know that I am a “sex geek” as while I have spent time learning about, reading about and studying the subject I have no, AHEM, real world experience, as it were.

    Apart from that I am definitely a research junkie, love google and will research anything I think might be interesting to learn about. A mention of Asperger’s earlier reminded me of a podcast I was listening to earlier today, which is actually a radio show broadcast from Australia (The Science Show, one of four that I listen to), which caused me to look up some information about it. Don’t think I have it though it does describe me somewhat, the only mental illness I know I have is ADHD, had that all me life, it basically has made it so my interests tend to jump const… Oooh shiny… uh, where was I, um, oh well I’m gonna go lift weights now.

  43. OOH OOH! I got number 64! that’s 2^6 or 100000 in binary! I am also a computer nerd but that goes without saying as I am a web developer (C#, Java, Javascript, I have a little experience with perl, php and xml, and a lot with ASP.Net).

    Also I like comix.

  44. @Expatria:

    I really wish images could show up in the comments themselves, but LMAO anyway..

    Reminds me of something I once heard attributed to a certain Swede in a certain L.A. area contemporary Glam band (oh, Gmu, by the way..):

    “ugh. I hate books, they’re so boring. Reading’s for nerds!”

  45. @flib: How so? I did the calculations, the binary number 11111 is 63 in decimal so in order to get to 64 in binary it has to go one further (100000). The other is just breaking it down into its exponential form, I didn’t take the time to convert it to hex (0x40) but seriously, I don’t understand the failure here. :(

  46. @flib: dammit, and I double checked the frackin’ math as well. Apparently I didn’t check well enough. you are right it is 1000000 in binary which would translate to ox100 in base-8 or 0x40 in hex (I did get the latter right but for the wrong reason).

  47. Do I get geek cred because I sometimes lie in bed at night in the dark deeply thinking about what it would be like to live on Ringworld or about Larry Niven’s design flaws?
    Larry is a GOD by the way…

  48. @Denver7M,

    Yeah, I think you do get geek cred for fantasizing about Ringworld. But I’ve always thought the Integral Trees would be a cooler place to live. Niven created the most complete, most engaging and immersive SciFi world I’ve ever come across. But the last (maybe not even the last by now) Ringworld book was terrible.

    I’m all for racy or semi-porn content in my SciFi, but this was just pointless and meandering and it annoyed me. I flat out loved as many as 30 novels by him, but in that inexplicable way that SciFi authors (of both genders) go off the rails in their later years in needing to add sex elements in their stories, I think Niven jumped the shark in the mid 1990s.

  49. I’m the kind of geek that posts the word “geek” on my ass, photographs it and puts it in a calendar.

    Word. Buy a 2009 Skepchick calendar you geeks.

  50. Regarding Niven and sex:

    I think he was always putting in as much sex as he could get away with, and is now pretty much free to do as he pleases. Especially in the ringworld setting, where he laid the foundation back in the 70’s for alien/furry sex instead of birth control as a core piece of the ringworld cultures.

    I think you’re referring to the penultimate ringworld book; he published a new one recently that took 20 years worth of reader ideas and ran with them, massively expanding and changing the scope of the story. Unfortunately, he took enough ideas to make a well-written, 400 page book and created a very fast-paced but slightly confusing 200-page book. The fact that the entire book involves either Protector viewpoints or people trying to keep up with them provides some justification for rushing all the ideas out there, I guess.

    FWIW, I just recently finally read Oath of Fealty. 1970’s writing. The sex seemed to REALLY be forced into that book for no good reason, but the concept of a neofeudal arcology was fascinating.

    Okay… NOW I can state with certainty that I’m a sci-fi geek (geekus scifiicus, subspecies libri.)

  51. I’m all for sex in sci-fi. As an advanced reader, I read the grown up sci-fi when I was a kid. It was exceptionally funny seeing my slightly uncomfortable parents telling me not to watch the 30 second PG sex scene, and instead go upstairs and read starship porn.

  52. Killysaur42:

    A mention of Asperger’s earlier reminded me of a podcast I was listening to earlier today… which caused me to look up some information about it. Don’t think I have it though it does describe me somewhat…

    My son has a form of autism that is very similar to Asperger’s Syndrome — there were a couple of things in his early development that keep him from having that as an official diagnosis, but for all intents and purposes his treatment is managed like someone with Asperger’s would be. So I know more about it than I really want to. ;)

    What you described is VERY common, more than you’d think. Autism, which includes Asperger’s, is a spectrum — everybody in the whole world is on it. On one end, you have the severely autistic people who can’t communicate and just rock back and forth all day (say that’s 100 on a scale of 1 to 100). On the other end, you have people with no autistic tendencies at all (1 on a scale of 1 to 100). It might just be people in the 30-100 range who are considered autistic, but there’s a pretty big range of those characteristics within the “normal” population, or whatever is the PC word for it this week.

    Having those characteristics doesn’t mean you’re autistic, but recognizing them can go a long way towards making life easier to deal with. I took a 50-question test online that can help identify some of these characteristics in adults, and I got a startlingly high score. I’m not autistic, but a lot of the characteristics that my son has a little too much of, he got from me. (E.g. being overwhelmed by too much noise, being highly detail-oriented, being able to concentrate on the same thing for long periods of time, disliking certain textures, etc.)

    When I started doing a little research and finding out about the typical personality traits of people with high-functioning autism who have learned to cope on their own without ever being diagnosed, I’ve become convinced that at least two of my friends have Asperger’s. I think a lot more people (especially among my geek/nerd circle of friends) would score fairly high on these tests, even if they couldn’t be formally diagnosed as having Asperger’s or something similar.

    My personal theory is that there is probably a much larger proportion of people in the geek / nerd / SCA / RPG / scientific / medical communities (and you know there’s a lot of overlap there) than in society at large. Odd socialization skills, ability to disconnect from reality, ability to memorize huge amounts of information (i.e. sci-fi trivia), tendency to have a strong interest in a subject and the ability to focus on it for hours, and I could go on and on — all of these things are assets in a lot of fields and hobbies, and those areas of interest tend to draw a higher proportion of people who have characteristics that are typical of people with autism, only to a non-disabling degree.

    Sorry … I wrote an essay there. :P But I would really be curious to have this whole forum take one of those tests and see how we all come out on it!

  53. I’m sure I overlap with a lot of the Autism Spectrum Disorder. I think a lot of males do.

    Another item of interest is that I think I have a *lot* of Tourette’s symptoms, that I only diagnosed as an adult. I don’t have the one, big classic symptom of screaming obscenities–when I do it it’s just for fun–but I have a variety of other traits that, when taken in combination, and from reading Tourette’s patients describing themselves and how they feel, I think I have a very high overlap on that spectrum.

    Of course it leads one to ask if there aren’t just lots of trait-constellations we could gather up and name if we wanted to. I think that’s very likely. I know of another collection of traits called a syndrome–Noonan’s Syndrome. It’s also a spectrum of specific traits where diagnosis can be fuzzy. We have friends where the mother and one of her children have Noonan’s.

    I would love to get tested against a bunch of these standards and find out…

  54. @Improbable Bee:

    My personal theory is that there is probably a much larger proportion of people in the geek / nerd / SCA / RPG / scientific / medical communities (and you know there’s a lot of overlap there) than in society at large. Odd socialization skills, ability to disconnect from reality, ability to memorize huge amounts of information (i.e. sci-fi trivia), tendency to have a strong interest in a subject and the ability to focus on it for hours, and I could go on and on — all of these things are assets in a lot of fields and hobbies, and those areas of interest tend to draw a higher proportion of people who have characteristics that are typical of people with autism, only to a non-disabling degree.

    This certainly seems to be true, it also seems that people in the fields of technology and science have a propensity to produce autistic children (at least that’s what the documentary that was being recounted in part on ABC Radio National’s “The Science Show” suggests). The scary suggestion was that apparently after having his own autistic child, James Watson (of the discovery of the structure of DNA fame) is currently working on and/or supporting tests for autism genetics so that a mother can abort the fetus. I find that rather horrifying as that seems to be a one way ticket to the world depicted in “Idiocracy”. (this was also pointed out in that particular program)

    …being able to concentrate on the same thing for long periods of time,…

    Being that I am ADHD (Type II, so I’m not overly hyperactive) I’ve not really had too much of a problem with this…:P

  55. Nerds think, Geeks do. Both are very intelligent, but in different ways (with a lot of overlap). It’s not a hierarchy, it’s a bit of a symbiosis.

    For example, look at computer science. The geeks have been out there for years, building new software, pushing new concepts, and generally showing us what cool and useful things can be done with computers. Nerds put taxonomy and theory around all that, show us that certain approaches work reliably, and so on.

    The geeks build on that theory (both of what is and what should be possible), pushing the edge again. The nerds reincorporate.

    Geeks would be lost without nerds, and nerds… well, they wouldn’t be lost, but they certainly wouldn’t be as useful.

    Don’t get me started on fans… there may be a lot of overlap, but fandom does not *imply* geekiness or nerdry. Fandom is obsession with fictional knowledge; geeks and nerds are obsessed with concrete knowledge.

    (Not to disrespect fandom; it’s the kind of crazy that, while I don’t participate, I really enjoy having it around!)

  56. >>Elyse: “No, everyone is NOT a sex geek. If they were, the world would be a much better place.”<<

    Elyse, you’ve become a veryyy interesting person. LOL!

    Actually, I think everyone IS a sex geek, but not everyone expresses his/her sexy geekiness in the same manner because not everyone’s experiences are the same and because not everyone’s personality and environment is the same. But I think the desire IS there.

    But I understand your point – in a perfect world, more boinking and intimacy, in general, is always good thing.

  57. I’m late to the party but I had to pipe up about my geekdom. I am a heavy metal music geek.
    I’m continuously tracking changes to the Black Sabbath/Deep Purple family tree on my computer and in my head. I’ve subjected my husband to long lectures about differences in sub-sub-genres in metal and band histories. (He must really love me in spite of this since we’re celebrating ten years next week.) My cds are organized by sub-genre, band name in alphabetical order and then chronology.
    I am completely annoying. Yet, totally satisfied.
    As far as hierarchy goes, the other metal geeks I know are really more music geeks in general. I’m definitely on the low end of the spectrum since I’ve narrowed my focus.
    They still haven’t seen Slayer as many times as I have so I win.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button