0747: "Geeks and Nerds"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
Giant Speck
Bouncy Sex Marshmallow
Posts: 3799
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:30 pm UTC
Location: Tucson, Arizona

Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Giant Speck » Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:52 pm UTC

From another thread I posted this in:

A nerd is someone who is passionate about or obsessed with scholarly fields, intellectual activities, and esoteric knowledge. The interests of a nerd could include, but are not limited to the following: mathematics, the sciences, linguistics, and technology.

A geek is someone who is passionate about or obsessed with a specific subject or cultural following, which does not necessarily have to be intellectually-based. The interests of a geek are far more specific than the interests of a nerd, and could include interests that would otherwise be considered interests of a nerd. A geek could be interested in anything; it's the intensity and depth of their interest that "deems" them a geek. Such interests include, but are not limited to theater, culinary arts, music, movies, photography, computers, video games, and much more.

A dork is someone who is socially inept and awkward. A dork does not have to be a nerd or geek to be considered a dork.

By my definitions of the words "nerd" and "geek", the terms are only interchangeable when the interests involved are intellectual. For example, someone who is deeply interested in astronomy could be considered both a nerd and a geek; however, someone who is obsessed with such things as Star Wars could be considered a geek, but cannot be considered a nerd. When social ineptitude is present, then a nerd or geek can also be considered a dork.

Now, I know that there are people out there that have their own definitions of the three words, in some cases even having the exact opposite definitions of "nerd" and "geek", but this is just how I define them.

"Did I say recently that I love Giant Speck? Because I love Giant Speck. He is the best." - Weeks

Posts: 259
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:10 am UTC

Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Faranya » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:47 pm UTC

See, my definition of "nerd" was always someone who, although being very smart, lacked an appropriate level of social skills (thus being considered awkward) as opposed to a geek, who was just someone with an excessive knowledge of one particular field (by definition, a wine connoisseur would be considered a wine geek).

A dork on the other other hand was someone without social skills or any particular intelligence or knowledge.

User avatar
Posts: 50
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:39 am UTC

Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Amalith » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:00 am UTC

LeiraHoward wrote: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.

My definitions has been pretty much this, except with dork being an outdated term that noone uses, replacing dork with nerd entirely. That isn't to mean all nerds are dorks, but they get lumped together: the key thing about nerds being that they don't know when to shutup (not only that, but they usually don't understand any nonverbal communication whatsoever).

At any rate, this comic is interesting in seeing how much we have the definitions the same, but the words changed. I think this might be generational though... For the record, I am in highschool with the definition that geeks are the social superior.

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:24 pm UTC

Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby liquidjaguar » Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:29 pm UTC

Shouldn't the "people who care about the distinction" section be U(Geeks, Nerds), not ∩(Geeks, Nerds)? That's my opinion anyway. I suppose it's a matter of opinion, and I assume our esteemed author isn't prone to this type of mistake (which I see far too often on GraphJam), that being the mistaking of Union and Intersect on a Venn diagram.

Posts: 45
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 5:01 am UTC

Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby MattTheTubaGuy » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:48 am UTC

I'm not sure what I would consider myself, but my local electronics store, DSE, has a "Nerd Support" group!

I am definitely intelligent, rather obsessive with some things, and I am not very social (but that's because I'm an Aspie)

User avatar
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:00 am UTC
Location: Buchares, Romania

Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby lunarul » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:53 am UTC

Xander wrote:I'm just bothered that Randall says in the alt-text that his definition of "nerds" holds them as a subset of "geeks," but his Venn diagram clearly suggests a population of nerds that are not geeks. Whatever everyone's opinions on the final matter of geeks v. nerds, that is a small jump in logic there, innit?

The saw I saw it, it's about how people see themselves. So there are people who see themselves as geeks and people who see themselves as nerds. A large intersection of these two groups has strong opinions about the distinction. And this thread proves that.
Not living in an English speaking country, I derived my definitions from media and the Internet, and see them as geek - what you want to be, nerd - an insult directed at largely the same group (a geek might call others nerds, but he will also be called a nerd by non-geeks)

I see Randall's definition of a geek being the very close to `otaku`
I'm not anti-social; I'm just not user friendly

Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:55 pm UTC

Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby bjornart » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:05 am UTC

I've tried very hard not to be the guy who posts "It's not supposed to stand up to analysis, or match the mouseover text!", what does that make me?

User avatar
Posts: 5940
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:04 pm UTC
Location: impaled on Beck's boney hips.

Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby Sprocket » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:28 am UTC

People call me a geek because I like a lot of things geeks like. I like intellectual pursuits, a lot, I don't actually engage in them very actively, but I admonish them very highly. I'm very attracted to the fantasy genre, but I'm actually not terribly well read within it, I am very into Neil Gaiman...but he's probably the only author that I've read a good deal by (maybe I'm a Neil Gaiman Geek....oh dear...). I LIKE comic books in theory, I'll pick some up occasionally and enjoy them, mostly just X-men, and Neil Gaiman, but it's sporadic and fleeting. I like Star Trek TNG and DS9 a lot...and Invader Zim and FireFly and various other things Geeks like. I am kind of socially inept at times, but I'm also part of a number of large social circles. Also apparently just being involved in Improv Comedy makes you a geek in some circles but I think that's just kind of strange. Anyway, I'm not REALLY INTO any one thing, I'm not terribly intellectual, but I spend all my time with Geeks and tend to be turned on by nerdy geeky things/boys. Can one be a contact Geek?

I don't have very strong opinions on the definitions of Geek and Nerd. I always sort of just took it as Nerds are more scholarly and Geeks are more technical. A theoretical mathematician is a nerd, an computer engineer is a geek. I don't feel that way now at all really, I just don't so much give a damn, except that hipsters have co-opted the word Geek somehow so it now means nothing at all...and that bugs me. That's part of the reason I don't like when people insist I'm a geek. I'd like to be a geek, but I don't think I actually have enough credentials to deserve the title.
"She’s a free spirit, a wind-rider, she’s at one with nature, and walks with the kodama eidolons”
Zohar wrote: Down with the hipster binary! It's a SPECTRUM!

Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:56 am UTC

Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby johnrob » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:58 am UTC

both are use the same in my opinion

Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 12:07 am UTC

Re: "Geeks and Nerds" Discussion

Postby qkslvrwolf » Sat Jun 05, 2010 12:12 am UTC

I just feel that http://www.qkslvrwolf.com/the-geek-hierarchy/ really encapsulates everything that need be said about geeks and nerds.

Although, I probably feel that way because I wrote it. Even if I wrote it badly. :-)

Monox D. I-Fly
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:49 am UTC
Location: Indonesia

Re: 0747: "Geeks and Nerds"

Postby Monox D. I-Fly » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:16 pm UTC

The alt text of this comic makes me understand that the word "geek" is equivalent with the word "otaku" in Japan while the word "nerd" is equivalent with the word "culun" in my native language.
Finally found one comic mentioning a Trading Card Game:

Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: karhell, rhomboidal and 17 guests