While not a scientific study, this list of geek behaviors present during conversations strikes me as fairly useful both for “geeks” and “non-geeks”.
That being said, I favor the trend of moving the terms “geek” and “nerd” to be more generic, so that instead of referring just to gaming/computing/math, they refer to any consuming interest, e.g. “politics geek”, “knitting geek”, or “sports nerd”. Many of the behaviors in that article are exhibited by people who don’t fall into the traditional “geek” category—the classic example here is sports discussion, where individuals socially distant from geek stereotypes will go into great technical detail, using plenty of jargon, with a focus on completeness and accuracy.
So some of these behaviors are connected to a certain personality type, but others are connected to strong interest in any given complex subject (strong interest in complex subjects may itself be restricted to certain personality types, but not to the traditional geek ones).
I know I have a bunch of these, and so do friends, but certainly not all.
Since you’re probably dying to know, these are the “geek” conversational behaviors I think I exhibit with some frequency:
- Obsessing over correctness and completeness. Yes, definitely. It’s a struggle for me to let factually wrong statements go by without any comment. I’m actually better at this when those statements are part of a political argument with which I disagree strongly—I can more easily file that away under “not worth it”. I also have a tough time with letting word misuse/poor spelling/etc. go by, and that’s due to a combination of altruistic desire to educate and a passionate desire to maintain the integrity of language (that subject is probably worth several posts in itself).
- Preferring exact numerical responses. Yes, generally, although not usually with money, which I’ll normally round.
- Using technical terms without checking for understanding. Sometimes. I think I’m actually fairly good at this. On the other hand, I think I occasionally use words that other people consider obscure without checking for understanding; that probably qualifies here.
- Rapidly enumerating long lists of items. I think I do this sometimes, but not all that much.
- Showing a lack of interest in outward appearances. Yes, definitely, but only in certain “modes”. I have some design geekery in me, and when the design geek switch is on I care a great deal about appearance and design. When that switch is off I care only about functionality. (In many things functionality and design are fundamentally intertwined, of course.)
- Evangelizing their favorite technologies. Yes, absolutely. You should all be using open source browsers, Vim, and version control. And reStructuredText. I don’t generally push too hard on this one, but it’s there.
|||I suspect that one stands out; of the three examples, it’s the one I’ve never actually heard—I came up with it while thinking about activities that could clearly be “geeky”. It’s quite likely to provoke the most dissonance, and I think there’s a whole pile of gender (and status) issues hiding under that dissonance. But knitting is clearly a technical realm that people get very into, and as such is entirely capable of sustaining geekery.|
|||I’m not sure to what extent I believe in personality types, but that’s another discussion.|