50 Things Every Geek Should Know

If you’re a geek, then you should know how to hide stuff in a JPEG image, why people should “try turning it off and on again” before they call the IT department, know the One Ring to rule them all quote from Lord of the Rings. You should also know how to spend Bitcoin, and know how to set up a LAN party.

Out of these 50, how many things did you know? If it’s less than 10, you obviously need to spend more time here at MakeUseOf.

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I thought we were trying to eliminate “tests” for geek culture. You’re a geek if you want to be, if you say you are – no infographic has the authority to name you “geek” or “not-geek”.


Jackson Chung

No, you can’t just claim to be a geek. There are criteria to fulfil.


In one sentence you describe the problem with geek culture as it deals with its increasing venture into the mainstream – “only we are the real geeks.”

Actually most of this can be answered by a regular watcher of “The Big Bang Theory”.

James B

exactly. You can’t just go around calling yourself a doctor because you want to.

Oh wait, you sir, you can…

Jackson Chung

Yeah huh.

Kannon Yamada

Right! The only exception being your wife’s parents.

Jackson Chung

My wife is also a doctor, but you’re right.


Yeah I really dislike it.. people have questioned whether I was a “real gamer” lol. I enjoy playing games but it’s not my whole life and a lot of games like COD, WoW, D&D and all that aren’t really my cup of tea. 3D tends to give me motion sickness. I like a lot of other things too. I thought this whole making a thing out of geekiness was cool pretty early on then it came like a wave where I live and on like all the websites I read and now it’s just kinda annoying. Everyone thinks it’s cool and taking on the I’m better than you attitude of people who would previously make fun of “geeks”. I’m sure this list is supposed to just be for fun, but for me and lots of other people here it’s just something else to roll our eyes about. Oh and proof read. I don’t even watch Doctor Who but I know it’s “The Doctor” since so many of my friends watch it. I’m not in every fandom and don’t expect others to be in mine but I end up learning a few things and understanding some jokes.


Remember when GEEK used to be a pejorative and the socially inept didn’t SEEK to be called it?


Oh yes, remember those days well. My how the tides have turned …

Mike H

I remember being called a Geek when it was a pejorative. I scored pretty low on this test. So where does that leave me? An old get-off-my-lawn Geek.


Being a geek does not mean you are into ALL the fandoms. Being passionate about just one can make you a geek. This “test” is not fair.

Jackson Chung

Lol you think it’s easy being a geek?


I agree with Flo. I am a passionate boardgamer (settlers of Catan is so out of fassion, by the way), love playing D&D, reading and watching Science fiction,… And my profession – programmer (female by the way).
And yes – have you tried turning it off and on again IS my most used sentence. And 42 should be default for int (instead of NULL) ;) .

But I still think I failed the test.
So you say I’m not a geek because I hate both WOW and Warhammer?


Wait Tjusa how can you hate Warhammer? Putting that aside I still think you are a geek as am I. I dislike Catan myself. I got 34 of the questions right and I know I am a geek. There is a lot that is not on this list that I consider geek. However I also feel like we should not be fighting over a label we should all just be out there enjoying what we enjoy and leave it at that.

Tom S

You always come with the greatest stuff…I guess I’m a Geek in progress! :P

Jackson Chung

Thanks, Tom!


The author of this piece seems to be operating under the entirely mistaken impression that anime fandom is a geek requirement and/or that “hackerspaces” exist in some kind of quantity outside of large urban settings.

Or that a real geek would sully him or herself with an iphone, even in the process of making it marginally less retarded.

Tom E

Your Doctor Who question is wrong. As a side Whovian (my wife is the bigger fan), even I know not to refer to the main character as, “Doctor Who.” The proper phrasing is, “The Doctor.”

And, I agree with @Flo, some of these questions are not really “are you a geek,” but “are you geek about ___.” For example, do I think I could re-flash my GFX card BIOS? Sure. Have I researched it? Nope. But I’ve re-flashed my Android several times, and researched re-flashing a WiFi receiver.


In addition, not including John Hurt and Peter Capaldi, there have been 12 actors who have played the Doctor.


Peter Capaldi has only just been announced and is yet to film the doctor, so therefore he is not The Doctor.

Also actors do not play The Doctor, they are The Doctor, for a period of time in their acting career.


I may not know what the Eternal War is but I do know what the Forever War is.

Bryan T

test fail, forgot binary.
Areas of geekdom DO overlap, but one does not need to excel in all areas to be a geek. This infographic is equivalent to saying a programmer should know C#, Perl, CSS3, Java, ASM, PASCAL and Basic. Sure, few may know all, some may know a few, but many are well-versed in a specific area.

Starria T

…some are you are taking this far more serious than necessary. It’s a joke quiz no more serious than the ones on Quizilla [or more recently that cupid site thingy] that you can ‘find out the ColOr of ur soul!’. That said, I have more or less failed this quiz. I am more or less a anime/manga geek, not a conventional one. My otaku levels are far over 9000. ;)

James B

Just in case you ever actually go to Japan, please know that otaku is a pejorative, equivalent to “socially inept loser”. Be an anime geek by all means, but don’t ever tell someone who really speaks Japanese that you’re an otaku. (Coming from someone who identified as an otaku, and lived there for 8 years)

Jackson Chung

So calling you otaku from now on ;)

Starria T

Considering that I fit in with the Genshiken crowd than the Lucky Star one, I think otaku fits just fine. I am fully aware of the meaning and I don’t mind it in the least. That aside I have no ambition to go to Japan…well outside of checking out Comiket…so I am none too worried.

Melroy D

IMO Geek is a relative term. you could easily be more geeky then your friend and still fall short of the next person’s geek level.

Jackson Chung

If that happens, you’ll know it’s time to level up ;)

Shinichi O

this one is for geeky fun. i can smell it.

Saikat Basu

1. Know how to calmly stare at the BSOD.
2. Know how to make a Live CD.
3. Know MS Excel like the back of your hand!


Correction for #3: Know spreadsheet software like the back of your hand.

Saikat B

Just Excel will do for me, thank you :)

Guy M

I thought that was fun. Got about 40 of them. It’d be really cool if each section linked to the answer.

Jamie Boo

AND to read your daily Finland news at http://www.finnbay.com

Ignacio C

Let’s see… who knows who the Kwisatz Haderach is? whithout looking for it, no cheating! I recognized it right away :)

knight bishop

how about chess? just i miss something? knight’s tour not found on any wiki’s? BOOMMM!!!


You used to be a leet geek but then you took an arrow to the knee.” No. No no no no no.


So, I went back to count and only got 16. For some I only counted if I have actually done them before. I read just yesterday about the hiding images in a JPEG but was too lazy to try it. I have hidden an image in a sound file before though. I did count things I know because of friends even if I’m not in the fandom. I do not wear thick rimmed glasses, just regular glasses and they are prescription not for fashion. I wish there were 50 questions per section and you choose the ones you most identify with. I don’t really like such broad tests. I would probably take Computers and Technology, and Internet. I have no desire for some of the things in each of those: jailbreak an iPhone as I don’t own one, 1337 5p34k, or build a fighting robot.


As I said, not including Peter Capaldi or John Hurt, there have been 12 (whether you want to say have been the Doctor or actors who have played the doctor, I don’t care).


I consider myself a geek. But (even if I’m a little generous) I only got about 13-14 questions right. I’m not offended. I think everyone deserves a little geek cred just for taking this test. That’s geeky. But a true geek would get many of these right. I’m a moderate geek. I know a fair bit about Star Wars, but forgot the distinction between AT-AT and AT-ST. I also read Dune, but couldn’t quite recall the words; “Fear is the mind killer”… something like that. I remember it more from The Simpsons than Dune. But the test is good. Some questions are a little extreme, but geekiness is often about learning deeply… mainstreamers would say far too deeply… about seemingly trivial shit.