The Bestiary of Geekdom

A Guide to the Diverse Species of Geek
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This bestiary is intended for the education of all persons in the delineation of various species within kingdom Geek. It includes a working definition of “geek” in modern usage, and attempts to catalogue and define the common varieties. Gender-specific pronouns are used interchangeably, unless otherwise noted.

An explanation of the “Function” scale: High functioning geeks are those who are able to easily interact with and relate to outside society; low functioning geeks exhibit more sheltered and/or antisocial behavior. (Some consider the high functioning geek a myth, but scholarship on the matter increasingly indicates otherwise.)


The artist in his modern conception is, by definition, a form of geek, as his concerns and motivations are largely opaque to the majority of society. High-functioning artists use self-expression at least partly as a means to reach out to others (including the general public), while low-functioning artists are either emotionally hostile and personally isolated, or aloof and self-ghettoing, preferring the company of those who consider true art a thing emotionally and ideologically inaccessible to 99% of society. It is a curious footnote that the latter consider themselves to be the high functioning artists.
Conservation Status: Eternal


web log → blog → blogger
A very slight mutation of most any form of geek which causes her to post material to the web on a regular or semi-regular basis. This may take the form of commentary, personal diary entries, photos, humor, links, or most any other form of content. Traditionally would rarely be considered a form of geek by itself, but increasingly moving in that direction.
Conservation Status: Concern. Under pressure from social networks via the deprioritization of noncommercial content, professional clickbait, outcrowding of traditional habitats, and shortened attention spans.


In a curious union of the two sexes’ shortcomings, the female desire to chat and receive praise is combined with the male propensity for voyeurism and limited sexual interaction, as a woman (typically middle-, high school or college aged) sets up a live webcast of herself chatting. Male participants exhort the camwhore to perform various exhibitionistic acts through the use of compliments, dares and purchases from her wishlist. Typically betraying a deep failing of self esteem or social acumen with such behavior, the camwhore manages at best to be a medium functioning geek.
Conservation Status: In the era of Snapchat, Threatened.


costume player
Mimics of a theoretically unlimited range of fictional characters, unusual for being a majority female form of geek. Their frequently elaborate visual displays involve carefully constructed costumes, often with makeup, hair/wigs, and sometimes even colored contact lenses, primarily for exhibition at geek conventions. (The careful naturalist always remembers to observe that “Cosplay is not consent” and ask before taking photographs.)
Conservation Status: Healthy


In its geek sense, a cracker is a programmer who uses hacker tools and methods to disrupt, destroy, extort, steal from or otherwise damage or threaten online resources. The cracker has traditionally been considered a fallen hacker, though the rise of “hacktivism,” both individual and state-sponsored, continues to blur the definition.
Conservation Status: Overcrowded. Culling recommended.


not a geek
Commonly mistakened for a species of geek; included here only for clarity purposes. Similar to a nerd in his lack of social acumen, but failing to possess the nerd’s technical abilities. As his interests and obsessions do not necessarily fall outside of the mainstream of culture, the simple dork can not be defined as a geek.
Conservation Status: No Concern


Briefly among the fastest growing forms of modern geekdom, this strain would have appeared to be the heir-apparent to Grunge, if not for the marked temporal gap between them. Largely music and look-based, the emo considered herself among the highest-functioning forms of geek. Her music had the always popular sheen of being by bands you’ve never heard of, and her look was a softer variant of punk’s: a uniquely ‘aughts mish-mash of too much and too little work — for example, a tee shirt with the pattern mostly worn away, below a dyed mop of hair that’s been moussed so that it falls just so across the forehead.
Conservation Status: Endangered


less frequently Fangirl
A rabid fan of a particular tv series, movie, comic book or videogame, exhibiting such behaviors as dressing up as one of the characters, heatedly debating minutiae, writing fan fiction/producing fan films, and charting the progress of even minor participants in the property’s creation.
Conservation Status: Eternal


One obsessed with anthropomorphized animals and zoomorphized humans — among the stranger things the internet has abetted. While there are probably relatively high-functioning furries who merely dress as animals to attend conventions (as opposed to, you know, doing anything else with their time), the low-functioning furry not only dresses as an animal but considers herself some sort of non-human entity deep down inside.
Conservation Status: Who Cares?


A term encompassing more than one kind of game enthusiast. With videogames today enjoying popularity across a wide demographic spectrum, their players are no longer necessarily considered gamers (as a subset of geek); gamer in the electronic sense is generally limited to those who show some marked level of obsession, such as organizing LAN-parties, building mods, or playing niche MMORPGs like Eve Online. Gamer refers with equal frequency to enthusiasts of role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, and even to some board gamers. Curiously, standard-deck card game enthusiasts are never labeled gamers (your grandmother?), although players of complex no standard deck/collectable card games (Magic: the Gathering) are unmistakably gamers. The different strains of gamer average as follows on the high/low functioning geek scale: Console gamers – high; WoW players – high/medium; board gamers – high/medium; LAN gamers – medium; Magic players – medium/low; role playing gamers – medium/low; Non-WoW MMORPG players – low; LARPers – very low.
Conservation Status: Stable


One whose interests or obsessions fall outside of the mainstream of culture, but are not wholly unique. Geeks generally exhibit a high degree of knowledge on a particular subject, garnered through a personal — often recreational — interest in the material. It is a mistakened assumption that one ceases to be a geek when such personal interests become professional ones.
Conservation Status: (See individual species)


Adherents to a BDSM subculture inspired by John Norman’s sword-and-sweat “Gor” novels — a sort of Dragon Lance to Conan the Barbarian’s Lord of the Rings. They advocate a system in which women’s natural place is to serve as sexual slaves to men. Goreans range from bedroom roleplayers to hardcore “lifestylers,” their functionality falling accordingly.
Conservation Status: Unknown


A gloom and doom variant of the geek, clothed in black and steeped to some degree in fatalism and depression. “Function” level is often a function of age with the goth; thirty-ish and over goths tend to be personable, even-keeled people who enjoy dressing up to go clubbing, while high school goths are among the lowest-functioning of all geeks.
Conservation Status: Concern. Many people look back fondly on the days when goth was goth, before goth became goth.


One of the oldest forms of geekdom, dating back to Elvis at least. The groupie is obsessed with a particular band or performer. He may follow the band around, spend all his income on band merchandise, and even try to sexually engage with the performers.
Conservation Status: Endangered


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Female only. A backlash simultaneously against both 70s man-hating feminists and the lil’ Brittany lip-gloss-and-frat-parties set. A grrl finds nothing funnier than classic illustrations of 60s housewives.
Conservation Status: Threatened


In the mid-nineties, one who identified strongly with the emotionally more complex punk culture of bands like Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Pearl Jam. Now largely mistaken for a clothing fashion, Grunge was closely associated with cheap, overlarge and comfortable thrift-store-and-Sears clothing: flannel shirts, loose jeans, basic sneakers.
Conservation Status: Despite some mimic species, Believed Extinct


A programmer who enjoys probing software and networks for weaknesses. Hackers vary widely in the spectrum of high/low functioning geekdom.
Conservation Status: Endangered (see Cracker)

Health Nut

Not considered by himself a geek, and with few ties to most other forms of geekdom, the health nut is one who worries over his diet and nutrition to the point of erasing any net gain his health might garner from such careful regulation.
Conservation Status: Abundant


An old form of geek, with as many subcategories as geekdom itself. In broad terms, the hippie mistrusts authority, trusts “natural” products and methods (however she chooses to define them), is spiritually malleable and religiously flexible, and seeks simplicity in life. The hippie tends to be a mid-functioning geek.
Conservation Status: Fatally Nostalgic


Fans of oxymoronic redneck rap group the Insane Clown Posse (ICP), readily distinguished in the wild by their distinctive clown makeup.
Conservation Status: Best Ignored


An aficionado of Live Action Role Playing — that is, playing dress up, with a dash of role playing. A low-functioning form of geekdom rarely seen outside of high school.
Conservation Status: Low Concern


While ostensible a political movement — and indeed a real American political party — the libertarian’s one issue politics and long life at the political fringe has tended to place him more comfortably within the bestiary of geekdom than that of Washington. The libertarian was first described as a fierce defender of civil liberties, more liberal than the Democrat in terms of letting the social cards fall where they may, and more conservative than the Republican inre: reducing the size and role of government. Though their habitat range has been traditionally limited by an inability to mount collective action, libertarians have been noted in the past decade or two to be cross-breeding with Science Denialists in order to resist rising levels of climate change, and Teabaggers in order to just feel really really special for once.
Conservation Status: Little Concern


A low-functioning and potentially harmful extreme form of geek, sometimes wrongly referred to interchangeably with the broader term. The nerd is an individual with a high degree of technical knowledge tempered by virtually no understanding of social dynamics and empathy. At its highest functioning level, the nerd is merely out of touch with others; the lowest functioning nerd may actually be a literal savant.
Conservation Status: Stable


From “newbie,” before even that became too many letters to type. One, usually young, who is trying to become a geek at something — usually something online. Annoying for those who already are geeks at the chosen topic, as talking with the individual becomes tantamount to reinventing the wheel.
Conservation Status: Eternal


An American obsessed with Japanese culture, especially animé and manga, but sometimes extending to snack food, Hello Kitty vibrators, vending machine panties, life-sized pillows in the shape of favorite tv characters, and other eccentricities of Japan. (The Japanese consumer obsessed with the eccentricities of American culture is merely and typically the average Japanese consumer.)
Conservation Status: Stable


A geek with an unusual sexual interest in plush toys. The plushie is given to fetishizing, and even specially modifying, such stuffed animals for sexual gratification. Mascot suits may also be found desirable on sexual partners. Predictably, there is much quiet cross-breeding between plushies, yiffies and furries.
Conservation Status: Unknown


Highly splintered across modern geekdom, and apparently a common label for several forms of geek. Originally a highly nihilistic community within American and European society, the adoption of various aspects of punk — real and perceived — by succeeding generations of geek has rendered a single definition dicey. In broad terms, the modern punk either practices, or wishes to be perceived as practicing, numerous self destructive tendencies — usually more of the latter.
Conservation Status: Dead. Get over it.


A member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. The SCAdian invents a secondary, pseudo-medieval personality, dresses as that character and pretends to be her at events and “reenactments.” Similar to LARPing, but without the gameplay aspect, and practiced by all ages. Typically a medium functioning geek. (The author once dated one.)
Conservation Status: Moderate Concern

Science Denialist

Incorporates three main families: Religious fundamentalists (Creationists, Jihadis), apple-cart owners (oil company execs funding fringe climate scientists) and those whose motives are unreadable or cruelly short-sighted (the AIDS-denying South African central government). For field identification purposes, the science denialist is readily distinguished by a behavior known as “moving the goalpost,” wherein she may be observed continually re-anchoring her worldview on new arguments, even when every one of her founding maxims has been demolished.
Conservation Status: Abundant


Social Justice Warrior
Anyone a Libertarian disagrees with.
Conservation Status: Straw


Despite the endless predictions over the years, skateboarding has never really taken off as a sport like surfing. As such, the skater is a member of his own tribe, although in late years more communities have put in a skate park to give him some place to go that’s not the street. In theory, the athletic skater is a high functioning geek; in practice he’s usually medium functioning, and in high school.
Conservation Status: Surprisingly Stable

Sports Fan

Highly controversial, as a form of geekdom. While the rabid memorizing of statistics and esoteric play analysis of the sports fan (even ignoring extreme fan behavior and fantasy leagues) seems to place him within the bestiary of geekdom the popularity, and curiously widespread social acceptance of such behavior argues against his inclusion here.
Conservation Status: Eternal

Straight Edge

Rapidly disappearing. One who wishes to be considered hardcore, like a punk, but eschews the nihilistic tendencies of that scene — i.e. no drinking, no smoking, no drugs. Sometimes discludes sex, promotes social activism and veganism, and as such is rapidly disappearing into hippie, vegan, emo, and Nancy Reagan’s “just say no” thing.
Conservation Status: High Concern


formerly “Dittohead”
It is as inevitable for a country to produce an ultranationalist faction as it is for this faction to believe itself unique. The brownshirts of the United States represent an uneasy coalition of ageing businessmen and disaffected rednecks clustered philosophically around right-wing pundits such as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly. In theory, the dittohead advocates a reversion to the always-illusory “good old days,” supporting the disastrous notions of Neoconservatism abroad and trickle-down economics at home. In practice, he echoes the day-to-day obsessions of his pundit of choice — i.e. “Ditto from me, Rush!”
Conservation Status: Concern. Losing territory to the more openly racist Alt-Right. Plus, old age is a bitch.


A promoter of the use of technology to deliberately alter the human species, whether by merging with machines, programming the human brain, increasing reflexes, strength, intelligence or any other RPG stat, social engineering, designer genes or other congruent methods. Somewhat too early for its time, but spunky never the less.
Conservation Status: Low Stable


A rabid fan of the original Star Trek movie/tv franchise, the trekkie could easily be regarded as a form of fanboy, were the broader fanboy phenomenon not a clear imitation of his pioneering methods.
Conservation Status: Stable


-er, not -ie
A fan of the Star Trek movie/tv franchises originating after 1987 (the premier of Star Trek: The Next Generation), generally considered to be higher functioning. There is much cross-breeding between trekkies and trekkers, a fact which some of the latter prefer to ignore.
Conservation Status: Stable

Urban Explorer

As in any asymmetrically expanding system, the urban environment inevitably produces voids; these voids consist of derilect structures and empty spaces, from the ruins of Detroit to tunnels under New York and Paris, to rope factories in Maine. Such structures are the preferred habitat of the urban explorer, a species of geek enamored with the forgotten, blighted and lost products of the builder’s craft.
Conservation Status: Threatened


A unique form of speciesism in which the animal kingdom is considered sacred while all other edible lifeforms continue to take holy hell. The vegan avoids all products derived from animals, including dairy, meat and eggs. He often speaks of his diet in terms of health, but also refers to veganism as a “lifestyle,” which serves as an indication of the diet’s primarily moral foundation. (Note that no one calls himself an “Atkin,” or a “milkie.”) The high functioning vegan can eat near non vegans in peace; the low functioning vegan is typically college-aged, self-righteous, and somewhat malnourished.
Conservation Status: Stable


Practitioner or semi-practitioner of a loosly defined set of spiritual beliefs based on pre-Christian European mysticism. Some cross-breeding with hippie and goth. The Wiccan “definitely believe[s] in something,” often being a refugee from a mainstream religion. He prefers wiccanism’s less hierchical and less paternal structuring. The wiccan is generally a medium to low functioning geek, but is secretive enough to pass for a higher functioning geek most of the time.
Conservation Status: Concern


The upper tier of the Wikipedia food chain. Remarkably wide-ranging at its first discovery in the middle of the last decade, the Wikipedian answers the question of how a reference that anyone can edit is able to maintain a reasonable level of quality. Suggesting convergent evolution with the library sciences, she is blessed with endless time, strong editorial opinions, and an attention to detail bordering on the diseased. While geeks of all function levels may edit the Wikipedia, the true Wikipedian is typically medium to low functioning.
Conservation Status: Threatened, as prone to internecine violence


The erotic short bus of furrydom.
Conservation Status: (See Furry)

Maintained by Matt Rasmussen. Please address all concerns and omissions to the editor.