Geeks, Nerds and Dweebs

Geek Shirt I was looking over a Slashdot article that was beating the Geek Squad into the dirt and stumbled upon one of the best definitions of geeks, nerds and dweebs amongst the comments. After reading it thoroughly, I’m happy to say that I am still a Geek by the terms listed.

There *is* a clear distinction and a value hierarchy among geeks, nerds, and dweebs, but you’ve got it all wrong.

What follows, I claim, is the one true classification of geekdom. It has stood up to rigorous peer review (loud arguments amongst drunken physics students) for years, and I stand by it.

A dweeb is someone without social skills who either doesn’t recognize or is unable to accept that they are unusual. They constantly *try* to fit in, with disastrous results, and dedicate a significant portion of their daily lives to obsessing over how to pass as normal.

A nerd is someone without social skills or popular interests who recognizes that he or she is unlike most people and feels no shame in it.

A geek is a nerd with technical skills and passionate interests; in particular one who has a myopic dedication to a particular specialty. (This is the subspecies *true geek,* distinct from but related to the *common geek,* or nerd who is generally technically savvy and useful to have around.)

To summarize, the dweeb is the guy wearing a slightly out of fashion hipster shirt who generally creates embarrassing silences at parties by saying awkward things about pop stars or sports teams.

The nerd is the guy who skips the party in order to achieve moderately high scores on a popular video game while eating unheated canned peas with a spoon and listening to recordings of experimental music.

The geek is the guy who skips the party in order to code a popular video game, figure out the angle of repose one might expect for a pile of canned peas, or compose and record some experimental music.

On the college campus, geeks make up virtually the entire population of physics and math majors (as well as a majority in classics, many of the less trendy engineering sub-disciplines, linguistics, physical anthropology, and some of the more obscure languages.)

The nerds are the guys who drop out of school after one semester but stay in a college town working in a bookstore, where they get great discounts on whatever genre books they happen to like and talk to their geek friends about writing their own books yet never seem to actually finish any of them.

The dweebs largely end up in engineering or the quantitative business disciplines, in the hopes that they can earn enough money to buy the respect of powerful and attractive people. Those in engineering have a tough time of it, as they are publicly ignored by the normals whom they so admire while simultaneously earning the scorn and contempt of the geeks in their departments. Those in business do rather well, since they have a good chance at fooling their colleagues into thinking that they are geeks. (Normals may not invite geeks to parties, but they do like to hire them.)

I’m proud of my Geekiness. I’ll be the first to call myself a geek, but what really irks me is when I proclaim myself as one, my family immediately replies with a “nahhh…you’re not a geek,” in a comforting tone. I’ve worked hard to be obsessive over random things (Star Wars, Warcrack, Programming, etc)…let me have my cake and eat it too :)

I’m no Dweeb. I’m not a Nerd. A Geek I will remain.

Wrong For Seconds, Ridicule for Hours

I am a failure to society. Don’t you hate it when you do something (like a tool) thinking things are right and good in the world, then you find evidence that you have actually been mentally handicapped for an entire conversation? You knew something but your mind crumbled. You know you’ve been gaming too long when elements of a game invade your brain and call to question everything you had built your life around. Suck.

This was the case today when my life around came crashing down in an IM battle with Cliff Pearson. The little bastard typed “w/” as an abbreviation for with and I claimed it was “/w.” Now, I’m not the stupidest person in the world…heck, I’ve known with is abbreviated with w/ for years and years. Needless to say I barked on how I was right for minutes until everyone around me said I was a tool. Still thinking I was right, I looked it up and oddly found an answer in Lesson 13 of the NLS: Instructional Manual for Braille Transcribing. Weird.

13.4b Slash (oblique stroke) with single letter abbreviations. Where context makes the
meaning clear, single letter abbreviations that are separated by a slash do not require a
letter sign. These expressions should not be divided between braille lines. Examples:

  • c/o Sam Jones
  • c/o ,s∙m ,j”os
  • b/w TV set
  • b/w ,,tv set

In situations where a single letter could be misread, as in (w/copy) where the w is an
abbreviation for with, not will, use a letter sign for clarity.

[Slashes between numbers will be studied in the next lesson. For diagonal slashes used in
poetry see Lesson 18.]

What could have caused this mix up? Especially when I use w/ so frequently. (Google Borkweb for w/).

Then Zach reminded me that I’ve been playing World of Warcraft and DotA for too long. My brain-damaged head decided to convince me that the command for whisper (/w) was the abbreviation for with (w/).

Oh God I hate games. I’m a dork.

OMG Girlz Don’t Exist on teh Intarweb!!!!1

This article on Escapist Magazine is amazingly funny and oddly true. It summarizes the assumptions that most on-line gamers have regarding gamer girls…attractive ones at that. Here’s an excerpt:

I am a girl on the internet. Yes, I said it. A girl on the internet. There really are quite a few of us. I can type. I can play games with the best of you. And you, my friend, are about to get owned by a girl.
[…]
[boy1] Teleios is a girl.
[boy2] omg, r u serious?
[boy1] yup, i heard her on vent.
[boy2] omg pics, now.
[Teleios] No.
[boy1] c’mon. you’re not a girl if u don’t show us pics.
[Teleios] I am a girl.
[boy2] then show us a pic.
[Teleios] no.
[boy1] teleios is probably a guy using a voice thing cuz she won’t show a pic.
[boy2] ya, there are no girls on the intarweb.

Sadly, this is true. I have even made assumptions that certain people were male when I’ve played games and I am thrown for a loop when I find out that the person is actually female…and yes, some of those people were attractive female gamers. What is important to note that this isn’t necessarily a sexist assumption. In the past, the number of male gamers dwarfed the number of female gamers by large margins. With the emergence of MMORPGs and increased advertising directed towards females, we are seeing an increase in the amount of “Holy Grails” out there playing a multitude of different genres of games! Its actually really cool.

Image copyright to Escapist Magazine