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Subject: Difference between geek, dork, and nerd rss

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Josh
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The first one works well, the others not so much.


When I was in college, a Norwegian exchange student asked my friends to define the differences between a geek, nerd, and dork. We had a tough time, and settled with the ol' "can't define it, but I know it when I see it." I'd be interested if this learned gathering of geeks can do any better! I'll go first:

To me, a nerd suggests an interest in math or science, and implies a certain amount of scholarly/educational interest/achievement. There was a time that "nerd" was an insult (see any teen movie from the '80's), but I think the advent of the internet has made it widely known that nerds are firmly in charge of everything. I don't think that nerd even implies any amount of social maladjustment anymore. If someone was to call me a nerd as an insult, I think I'd be amused at being called something I freely embrace. Nerd Pride!

To me, a geek is someone who has a strong interest in one of The Traditional Kingdoms of Geekery (patent pending), including (but not limited to) science fiction, fantasy, gaming, computers, comics, military history, and hitting each other with foam-padded bats. Or is a geek anyone who takes an interest in a topic far beyond what is considered socially normal? Can one be an air conditioning repair geek? An arabian horse geek? Maybe geek is a term that has expanded beyond its traditional boundaries, and now simply denotes "enthusiast." Personally, I'd feel better in a world where one could rely on the fact that all geeks could discuss Cylons and Mind Flayers and such.

I think that some degree of social retardation is required to be a dork. BO helps, as does wiping your fingers on your shirt after eating a jumbo bag of Cheetos. Dorkiness is not synonymous with ugliness. There must be a problem recognizing others' personal space, extremely poor dental hygene (even by lax local standards (not naming names, but casts a quick glance eastwards over the Atlantic Ocean)), a preternaturally drippy nose, etc.

Almost all geeks are nerds. Many nerds are neither geeks nor dorks. It is common to meet a dork who is neither a geek or a nerd. However, the trifecta of nerd/geek/dork is also common, as evidenced by your local gaming con.

I'm very "out" as a geek and a nerd. Calling me a dork would hurt my feelings a bit.

P.S. My mom says I'm cool.
 
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J
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A geek is a nerd plus some social skills.

A dork is a nerd minus the intelligence.

Your definition of nerd works fine.
 
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Geoff Bohrer
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I'm well known in some other circles than this one as a "Fire Geek"; meaning that I have a pretty good grip on fire behavior and suppression theory. So maybe there's more "kingdoms" of geekery?
 
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Philip Thomas
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mmm at my school the term was 'goggy' which basically meant anyone with a non-sporting non-schoolwork interest. So you had theatre goggies, music goggies, and gaming goggies if they bothered to notice us at all.meeple

I guess a geek is a geek with regard to something- or many things, but there is at least one thing he is geeky about, meaning knowledge and interest, and focus. I don't know so much about the other two. Dork seems pretty close to 'jerk', pardon my American.meeple
 
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Josh
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Dork seems pretty close to 'jerk', pardon my American.meeple


To my American mind, jerks intentionally offend, whereas dorks do it unintentionally.
 
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Josh
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gbohrer wrote:
I'm well known in some other circles than this one as a "Fire Geek"; meaning that I have a pretty good grip on fire behavior and suppression theory. So maybe there's more "kingdoms" of geekery?


Yeah, I think nowadays "enthusiast" and "geek" are just about the same thing. I'd bet that in many people's jobs, being a geek for that particular subject is necessary for competence.
 
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michael dorazio
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I recently took some online test that helped to determine where I fall between the three. I'll have to find it and post it. Maybe I'll also post the alignment quiz while I'm at it ...
 
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Josh
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cradleofmilk wrote:
I recently took some online test that helped to determine where I fall between the three. I'll have to find it and post it. Maybe I'll also post the alignment quiz while I'm at it ...


http://www.okcupid.com/tests/take?testid=9935030990046738815

That'll learn me for posting without the requisite Google search....

It makes me feel like an Astrology-believing moron for admitting it, but I tended to agree with the above test's result.
 
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John O'Haver PhoDOGrapher
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I am a wargame geek but my ex-boss used to call me a wargame nerd. Here is how I defined the difference.

Let's say I'm playing C&C:Ancients against a wargame nerd.

As a geek I say this. "My Heavy Infantry is moving here and attacking your Mediums and my Auxilary will throw two dice against your Elephants, there."

The WG Nerd says. "My Warriors come over the hill. YAHHHHHHHHHH!Kill! Kill! and (holding up arm to nose and making loud trumpeting noises) my Elephants CHARGE! your heavy Infantry."
 
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Jorgen
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Nerd: "Mr. President! We must delay the shuttle launch!"

Geek: "I disagree, Frodo, Nanoha Takamachi and Honor Harrington (Supported by the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich) could easily defeat Han Solo, Harry Potter and James T. Kirk at the Battle of Antietam"

Dork: "Hey baby, Is heaven missing an angel? Cause you've got a great pair of jugs"
 
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Joseph Cardarelli
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I just took the test, here are my results:

Joe Normal
34 % Nerd, 39% Geek, 21% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored less than half in all three, earning you the title of: Joe Normal.

This is not to say that you don't have some Nerd, Geek or Dork inside of you--we all do, and you can see the percentages you have right above. This is just to say that none of those qualities stand out so much as to define you. Sure, you enjoy an episode of Star Trek now and again, and yeah, you kinda enjoyed a few classes back in the day. And, once in a while, you stumble while walking down the street even though there was nothing there to cause you to trip. But, for the most part, you look and act fairly typically, and aren't much of an outcast.

I'd say there's a fair chance someone asked you to take this test. In any event, fairly normal.

Congratulations!
 
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Alex

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Quote:
A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.


I agree with this!

See also: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/question/4127
 
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