0747: "Geeks and Nerds"

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Lion_Knight
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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Lion_Knight » Mon May 31, 2010 8:50 am UTC

skine wrote:A geek is one who bites heads off of chickens.

A nerd is one who knows this definition.



I can't agree enough with this statement.

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Hectamatatortron » Mon May 31, 2010 9:05 am UTC

Lion_Knight wrote:
skine wrote:A geek is one who bites heads off of chickens.

A nerd is one who knows this definition.

I can't agree enough with this statement.

Sounds like there's some lore I haven't located out of...disinterest...which is shared between you two.

Nope, as far as wanton curiosity is concerned I mainly venture into TVTropes, Japanese and maybe computer science. Avidly seeking trivia doesn't exceed those for me...

I'm a vagrant of neekdom (gerdom?); I don't think I'm doing the best job I can in meeting others' expectations of me they garner by my appearance. Ask me anything about things like Magic the Gathering, World of Warcraft, Star Trek, or pretty much any movie or TV show and I'll simply be confused. Though I do watch copious amounts of anime.

Am I still worthy of the circles? I am horribly smarmy if that counts.

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VectorZero
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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby VectorZero » Mon May 31, 2010 9:09 am UTC

awhansen01 wrote:my definitions were the exact opposite of randalls!
Heh, my brother and I agree that there is a clear and distinct definition for each, but disagree as to which word refers to which idea. I guess now we know... we're both both.
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J L
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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby J L » Mon May 31, 2010 9:50 am UTC

The last definition I heard was that a nerd is a geek, but with friends.

DVC
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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby DVC » Mon May 31, 2010 10:10 am UTC

My favourite definition:

Nerd: someone who likes learning for learning's sake.

Geek: someone who learns a topic/thing obsessively, but that topic/thing has an application.

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby elims1 » Mon May 31, 2010 10:28 am UTC

Huh... Reading the definitions here, I'd say I'm a little bit of both...

According to this: http://laughingsquid.com/nerd-venn-diag ... -or-dweeb/ I'm a geek.

J L wrote:The last definition I heard was that a nerd is a geek, but with friends.


Yeah, that seems about right.
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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Muffinman42 » Mon May 31, 2010 10:35 am UTC

That laughingsquid thing puts me as a geek, though im not completely obsessed...I'm just posting here ironically...

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby SW15243 » Mon May 31, 2010 10:59 am UTC

From what I can gather from briefly skimming the (tl;dr) topic, you guys seem to think that geek is the more degrading one, but where I'm from, it's the opposite.
The way I've always treated it, and had it been treated by others, is that you're a geek if you're into things that generally have a socially-awkward stigma attached to them, like video games, comic books, TCG, tabletop stuff, that sort of thing.
You're a nerd if you're into these sorts of things, but actually legitimately exhibit that socially awkward stigma.

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby JDspeeder1 » Mon May 31, 2010 12:15 pm UTC

They both deal with obsessiveness. My definition generally agrees with Randall's. Geeks are obsessed with niche pop culture (Star [Trek/Wars], Tolkien, comics, table-top RPGs, etc.). Nerds are obsessed with fields of study (math, science, technology, language, etc.).

There is some overlap, and social awkwardness is often (but by no means always) a characteristic of both.

A geek can identify any Star Trek starship class on sight.
A nerd can build a one that actually works.

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Mon May 31, 2010 12:18 pm UTC

Lonewolf I wrote:Image
Alt text: "The definitions I grew up with were that a geek is someone unusually into something (so you could have computer geeks, baseball geeks, theater geeks, etc) and nerds are (often awkward) science, math, or computer geeks. But definitions vary."

Funny. My personal definition for those two words is flipped.


Alt-text pretty much nails the definition head-on, IMO. Which means if I met Lonewolf in real life I would have to slap him/her upside the head. Yay for fitting into the Venn diagram?
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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Eikinkloster » Mon May 31, 2010 12:19 pm UTC

The Nerd Venn Diagram states that a nerd is a dork geek.
I think this is consistent with the usage I've usually seen.

In Brazil the term geek is unknown outside of the computer scene. Nerd is essencially an insult and means socially awkward/too intellectual/ugly.
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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Charlemagne_ » Mon May 31, 2010 12:22 pm UTC

I've always thought that geek meant somebody who has an in depth knowledge or obsession with one particular topic or area, and is generally successful within that area, whereas a nerd is a person who likes learning in general, but doesn't particularly excel in one specific area.

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby E'Bahn » Mon May 31, 2010 12:26 pm UTC

I have always particularly enjoyed Jorge Cham's discussion on the subject:
http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=401

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby finlay » Mon May 31, 2010 12:29 pm UTC

I was taught that a geek was a nerd that had a social life. Evidently none of you were.

(also we never use the term 'dork' here)

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Andrusi » Mon May 31, 2010 12:37 pm UTC

Geek: person who reads xkcd regularly or would if not for some extenuating factor (hype aversion, doesn't know it exists, etc.)

Nerd: tiny sugar crystal with brightly colored coating and artificial fruit flavor
Not named Dennis Miller.

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby wilwum » Mon May 31, 2010 12:48 pm UTC

Coincidentally, people who use Venn diagrams are also found in the intersection between geeks and nerds.

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Tei
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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Tei » Mon May 31, 2010 12:50 pm UTC

Useage here:
Geeks: nerds about tecnology, can have social skills
Nerds: like to read, like math and science, no social skills
Freak: weird guy, may like videogames, anime, rpg, etc..

With this useage, I can be described as geek (and I do very geeky things, like getting laid in mail-list), my friends are nerds, and XKCD is a nerd website in geek-space.

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby LeiraHoward » Mon May 31, 2010 1:00 pm UTC

My 2 cents -

I think that there are some regional differences in what the difference between a nerd and geek are. The definitions in the areas I've been in (Midwest and North-East United States) are usually something around these lines:

A "dork" is someone who has no social skills at all, usually very clueless and annoying, but not necessarily any smarter or more obsessed about anything than any other so-called "normal" human being. Usually ill-dressed and often lacking generally accepted personal hygiene. Often tries way way way too hard (and in the wrong ways) to get people to be his/her friend... with bad results.

A "nerd" is someone who has no social skills at all, but is usually pretty smart and very obsessed about a particular topic or topics- generally sciences, though at times other things. Often doesn't realize when ranting about his/her particular topic that everyone around him is slowly backing away and preparing to run. Sometimes not *quite* as socially inept as a dork, and usually slightly better dressed, though never "in style." A "normal" person would want a "nerd" to fix their computer, but wouldn't necessarily invite them to a party.

A "geek" is someone who HAS social skills (of varying degrees), and is pretty smart and very obsessed over a particular topic or topics... generally "computer geek" is the most popular/well known category of geek, but there are lots of others. Can converse in extremely minute detail about every detail of his/her obsession(s), but can also hold a conversation on other topics, and can realize when he/she needs to shut up (when in a group that does not share his/her obsession).

From the outside, a group of geeks conversing on a shared obsession can sound like a group of nerds. The major difference is found when conversing with "normal" people. The nerds will keep going on and on, the geeks will realize they need to either change their explanations to fit the audience or change the subject.

"Geek" is generally considered to be a good thing, "nerd" can be good but usually isn't, and no one ever wants to be a "dork." The primary difference is the ability to handle themselves in social situations. No one I know would want to be a nerd.

However, I know that in certain areas (which ones, I haven't been able to determine), the definitions for "nerd" and "geek" seem to be reversed.

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby davidad » Mon May 31, 2010 1:17 pm UTC

The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that dorks are the stupid ones.

Personally, I like to refer to the Oxford English Dictionary to get at the essence of what words mean; here are some etymologies that any other word...enthusiasts might find interesting:
* "dork" derives from "dick"
* "dweeb" is derived from "dwarf" and "feeble-minded"
* "freak" derives from an Old English word for "dance"
* "geek" derives from "geck", Lower Germanic for "fool"
* "nerd" derives from Dr. Seuss

There is a sense among a certain class of intelligent people that being the "fool" is a sort of supreme position of wisdom and power (see for instance King Lear), so it is understandable that this would be among the most preferred terms for self-description. Similarly, dance is symbolic of a free spirit, and it is understandable that people might actually wish themselves to be known as people who are not afraid to "dance" (both literally, and figuratively, through various modes of expression). The "nerd" of Dr. Seuss doesn't particularly look like a character I'd want to be identified with <http://www.eldacur.com/~brons/NerdCorner/NerdBig8.gif> but the fact that the word was made up by Dr. Seuss makes it pretty cool. Meanwhile, "dork" and "dweeb" are flat-out insults - nobody wants to be feeble-minded or dickish.

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DarkLoaf
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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby DarkLoaf » Mon May 31, 2010 1:19 pm UTC

Relsqui wrote:This Thread: Proving Randall's point since 2010.


amidst all the discussion, this is my favorite comment, so so true. :lol: It would appear that almost everyone who has posted in this thread would fall under the category of "people who have strong opinions on the distinction between geeks and nerds," regardless of how they've personally identified themselves. :lol: it would also appear since some of those people identify as nerds and the others geeks, the graph has been proven even more accurate.

me personally, have always thought as the term "geek" and "nerd" to be synonymous. I lean towards the term "nerd" cuz geek just sounds dorky. :lol:

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby DHeadshot » Mon May 31, 2010 1:31 pm UTC

Geek, Nerd, Dork, Boff - all of these have specific meanings.
A Boff is an expert. That one's generally agreed upon.
A Dork is someone with no social skills. So is that.
Now, Geek and Nerd. These are usually obsessive experts, sort of Boff++. The question is, what's the difference?
I have come across two different explanations that I agree with.
1) That a Nerd is an obsessive Boff and a Geek is a Dorkish Nerd. To this degree, I am a Nerd.
2) That a Geek is an obsessive Boff and a Nerd is a Geek with mastery over a range of subjects, not just one. To this, I am also a Nerd.
My general rule is that Nerdboy is a Nerd and The Userfriendly Team are Geeks.

BTW, note the difference between Boffs and BOFs. Boffs and Boffins - same thing, different corruptions of the same word. BOF = Boring Old Fart.

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby SirMustapha » Mon May 31, 2010 1:42 pm UTC

wilwum wrote:Coincidentally, people who use Venn diagrams properly (i.e. with the labels INSIDE the regions are also found in the intersection between geeks and nerds.


People who screw up even the most basic Venn diagrams are found somewhere else, possibly inside "wannabes", "losers" or "pseudo-smart".

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby mikaboshi » Mon May 31, 2010 1:45 pm UTC

In high school our defining difference between a geek and a nerd was that "geeks get laid."

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby DHeadshot » Mon May 31, 2010 2:05 pm UTC

An Ubernerd laughs uncontrollably at this:
Image

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby djgussin » Mon May 31, 2010 2:11 pm UTC

I definitely believe that geeks and nerds are intelligent and capable - but I always associated geeks as being the socially inept cousins of nerds ... but then again, it could be the other way around. Although I really like the venn diagram by Omegaton

Omegaton wrote:This reminded me of this diagram:
Image

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby rcox1 » Mon May 31, 2010 2:35 pm UTC

Lion_Knight wrote:Technically a geek is the person that did sickening things at a carnival like bite the head off a chicken. I assume it was then used a derogatory term for a very weird person and then eventually got an association with less than popular people because they are out cast and different. So geek has purely derogatory roots.


This is basically how I think about it when I think of a geek. A geek is someone who is willing to do something that will get attention. Be it knowing all the baseball stats, or biting the head of live animals, in modern terms the Jack Ass franchise. People will pay to these extreme things performed, but it requires neither unusual skill or intelligence. It does not necessarily reflect on the person, but one assumes that they go to these extremes to get attention because they are otherwise a boring person.

I think of a nerd as someone who has some talent and is not afraid of eschewing society to develop the talent. Some nerds are not considered nerds because they have a talent that is considered 'cool'. Some nerds are especially nerdy because they have no time for people. To that end, some geeks are not so geeky because they are able to integrate performances naturally into their life.

But, definitely, geek is much more derogatory term than nerd.

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby StNicolai » Mon May 31, 2010 2:58 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:
wilwum wrote:Coincidentally, people who use Venn diagrams
SirMustapha wrote:properly (i.e. with the labels INSIDE the regions
are also found in the intersection between geeks and nerds.

People who screw up even the most basic Venn diagrams are found somewhere else, possibly inside "wannabes", "losers" or "pseudo-smart".

You forgot about the poor people who don't enter a matching closing bracket right after an opening bracket, before they type the text in between... :wink:

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion -- Hard Data

Postby 3chars » Mon May 31, 2010 3:04 pm UTC

librarything used their tag cloud feature to give some idea about the difference.

basically, show a tag cloud gen. from books tagged "nerd" but not "geek" and show a tag cloud from books tagged "geek" but not "nerd".

It gives a pretty good picture. You could do the same on other big tagging sites.

http://www.librarything.com/blogs/librarything/2009/09/geeks-vs-nerds-hard-data/


library geek ... and nerd

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby madock345 » Mon May 31, 2010 3:09 pm UTC

According to that chart i am a Geek and a Nerd.
According to the chart on the forums i am a Dweeb
Am i a Nweeb?
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Nyerguds
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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Nyerguds » Mon May 31, 2010 3:51 pm UTC

DrEasy wrote:My head hurts.

...and that's the real point of this comic :P

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby JorickHorn » Mon May 31, 2010 4:24 pm UTC

I just had this discussion for the first time in years just yesterday.
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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Guairdean » Mon May 31, 2010 4:24 pm UTC

I've always used this definition.
"A Nerd is someone whose life is ruled by technology. A Geek enjoys it."

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Drewcifer » Mon May 31, 2010 4:27 pm UTC

The word geek is a slang term, noting individuals as "a peculiar or otherwise odd person, especially one who is perceived to be overly obsessed with one or more things including those of intellectuality, electronics, etc."[1] Formerly, the term referred to a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken, bat, snake or bugs.

Ozzy = Geek

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Aiwendil42 » Mon May 31, 2010 4:33 pm UTC

* "dork" derives from "dick"
* "dweeb" is derived from "dwarf" and "feeble-minded"
* "freak" derives from an Old English word for "dance"
* "geek" derives from "geck", Lower Germanic for "fool"
* "nerd" derives from Dr. Seuss


Well, none of those etymologies except 'dork' is so clear-cut. The OED says the 'dw' in 'dweeb' is either arbitrary or 'as in dwarf'. They etymology of 'freak' is not know, but it is possibly from a dialectical word cognate with O.E. frician. 'Geek' is of uncertain origin, possibly from a variant of 'geck'. The main etymology entry for 'nerd' just says 'origin uncertain and disputed', with a note listing several possibilities, one of which (granted, the most plausible-sounding) is from Dr. Seuss.

Now: does the fact that I already had the OED open in another tab for unrelated reaons before I even read your post make me a nerd, a geek, a feeble-minded dwarf, or what?

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davidad
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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby davidad » Mon May 31, 2010 5:03 pm UTC

The fact that you already had the OED open, of course, makes you a word enthusiast (and awesome)!

It's true that I made it seem like these were well-known etymological facts, but I wanted to make it clear that, for instance, the word "geek" did not originally mean "one who bites the heads off chickens." And I think the OED tends to be overcautious in its disclaimers. After all, very few etymologies are known for sure - etymology is a historical science, and imprecise by nature.

But, granted, there is a pretty big selection bias in what I posted: I like what I found. The idea of a geek being essentially a misunderstood wit, and a freak being one who just wants to dance, sits well with me (as well as the notion that "dork" and "dweeb" are insults that shouldn't be used for self-identification, and that "nerd" is somewhat mixed).

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby sableye22 » Mon May 31, 2010 5:15 pm UTC

I'm a vagrant of neekdom (gerdom?); I don't think I'm doing the best job I can in meeting others' expectations of me they garner by my appearance. Ask me anything about things like Magic the Gathering, World of Warcraft, Star Trek, or pretty much any movie or TV show and I'll simply be confused. Though I do watch copious amounts of anime.


Again, I'd always heard that a "geek" was someone with plenty of knowledge pertaining to (maybe not so) pop culture- which would account for better social skills, I guess.
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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby dietaether » Mon May 31, 2010 5:54 pm UTC

Had to register so that I could give my own personal definitions, since they seem to be in the vast minority here.

For me, since geek comes from the term for a circus side show worker who does bizarre tricks, a geek would be someone with poor social skills as well as niche obsessions. The emphasis for a geek is on the lack of social skills, as circus geeks were notoriously outcasts.

A nerd is merely a person with niche obsessions, who may or may not have poor social skills. I had a two hour debate with two large groups of friends, and eventually we concluded that being obsessed with fantasy football is just as nerdy as dungeons and dragons. With nerds, the emphasis is on the niche obsessions.

It's worth pointing out that with this definition, geek/nerd are two sides of the same coin, and every person who identifies as one will at times be guilty of acting like the other. For example, my friend who is obsessed with anime and manga and everything japan is a geek when we go out on the town and she can't talk about anything else, but is a nerd when she goes to comic con and everyone who is around her knows exactly what she is talking about.

I self identify as a nerd with a wide variety of nerdy hobbies, (from home brewing to bonsai to fixing old computers to keeping bees) but will rarely act geeky except in the presence of incredibly vapid people with no intellectual curiosity, or the highly religious (it's my kryptonite).

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby curtmack » Mon May 31, 2010 6:02 pm UTC

The definition I heard back in high school was "Geeks are people who always carry around pocket calculators, nerds are people who don't NEED pocket calculators." But this was at a math competition, so we were sort of biased.
...?

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Twigshusband » Mon May 31, 2010 6:05 pm UTC

I think Randall's point is that the only people who care about a definition for nerd or geek are nerds and geeks themselves. Anybody who falls outside the respective groups doesn't give a damn and uses them indiscriminately.

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Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Technocratic » Mon May 31, 2010 6:14 pm UTC

I personally go by the "Geek Nerd Dork quiz" guidelines. Geek = obsessive. Nerd = intelligent. Dork = awkward. This most efficiently covers all the manifestations of social outstandiness. The GND quiz can then assign people percentages for each one.
http://www.okcupid.com/tests/take?testid=9935030990046738815


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