If there’s one thing the internet has taught me, its two things:
One, nerds not only have no sense of humor, they’re actively hostile to humor. I’ve been to many nerd-gathering places where the mere act of making a joke at all is enough to make people hate you. Keep in mind, I’m talking about people who GET the joke and fully understand it, and also jokes that are completely harmless (like my “Metroid Dread deserves an EMMI” pun in my previous post).
If I had to guess why, I’d think its just because these people take their interests and hobbies too seriously and think you’re making fun of them whenever you crack a joke. Basically, they’re thin-skinned and insist everything be all “respectful” and “serious.”
I’m the exact opposite. I mean, I worship the ground Tolkien walks on, but that hasn’t prevented me from making jokes about his work (like the part of the Silmarillion that always parsed to me as Sauron and an elf-lord playing Yu-Gi-Oh).
But here’s another I’ve noticed…
Nerds hate true statements. They often see them as an insult, especially if the true statement is not at all flattering or goes at something they’ve formed an identity around.
It’s amazing how hysterical they get when you say, for example, that a children’s cartoon may not actually be an artistic masterpiece.
This is an idea that keeps getting reinforced by my adventures on a subreddit called the 10th Dentist.
It’s particularly ironic there… because 10th Dentist is a board that’s meant to be a companion/replacement for Unpopular Opinions… which means you’re SUPPOSED to express beliefs people aren’t likely to agree with.
And yet, whenever you actually do, in comes the butt-hurt train.
Unpopular Opinions itself gained a reputation for being “actually popular opinions, just worded edgily.” 10th Dentist comes off to me like most of the time its “unpopular opinions that don’t actually hurt anyone’s feels.” Which is why nine-tenths of the posts are vacuous subjects about personal habits, food preferences, and other stuff nobody cares about and which its honestly kinda gross that you’re revealing to total strangers.
Even when people express genuine unpopular opinions, there’s this habit of expressing them in a way that feels like the expresser is trying to belittle himself and make their opinion easy to debunk.
Funnily enough, my first time noticing this was when I did a topic about Avatar the Last Airbender (where I said it was “just okay” and phrased my issues as constructive criticism, by the way). A ways in, I got several replies saying I was arguing the wrong things… and what I got as a suggestion for “better” arguments was just a bunch of easily-rationalized nitpicks.
That says a lot: their idea of a “good argument” is actually something specifically designed to be argued and debunked.
Which is interesting, because that’s the exact opposite of how the real world works. I mean, imagine being at a trial… only a bad lawyer would intentionally leave holes in their argument for the other side to poke apart. The whole point of a trial is to decide guilt or innocence. One side has to win. That. Is. How. It. Works.
Actually, I think to some extent they realize that, because when really pressed, nerds will resort to some shady-ass tactics that even Manfred von Karma would’ve found to be going too far.
Favorite tactics of 10th Dentist posters I’ve noticed are:
-Pretending you said stuff you actually didn’t.
-Attacking some point that has nothing to do with your argument.
-Pretending they spotted a major mistake and then using this as a springboard to question your knowledge.
-Intentional misreading or being obtuse on purpose, which often enables the previous tactic.
-Projecting their own failings onto you (most commonly in accusing posts of being karma-fodder. See, a lot of these people only post for easy karma, so they assume everyone else does as well. Similar to how a thief will think everyone else is trying to steal from them).
-Resorting to a mass-downvoting campaign in an attempt to censor you (which on 10th Dentist, can actually get posts deleted).
That last one actually happened with my most recent topic, where I said basically that most people only PRETEND to care about politics but actually don’t care at all.
Common responses I got were:
-“People can care about more than one thing!” (I never said they couldn’t, so what’s your point?)
-“Politics affect people’s lives!” (And that totally means everyone is honest and nobody ever fakes a position or lies, ever! Seriously, that’s got to be what you mean, or else bringing up the self-evident fact that politics is important is completely redundant AND completely meaningless).
-That one guy who had to loudly exclaim that they, personally, TOTALLY care (the mere fact that such a person clearly sees my post as a personal attack against them and not a general statement is enough to make them suspect).
-Thinking that I’m against discussing politics at all. This is like thinking I hate food just because I acknowledge some are less healthy than others.
Actually, another 10th Dentist thing I’ve noticed is they have a problem with any sort of gray area or nuanced point: no matter what you say, you’re always treated as if you picked an extreme position. I already mentioned the example of “ATLA is just okay” which many took to mean I hated the show (with a few people even arguing I had some sort of mental hang-up about it).
Probably what says it all is how defensive they got when I did a post attacking TV Tropes. Which, 10th Dentist often remnds me of TV Tropes… a lot of what’s going on in one place was similar to what happened in the other.
The sad thing about 10th Dentist is its in some ways ideal: the concept is basically a “whatever you want to talk about today” hang out, and I do prefer that over more specialized boards where I will inevitably drift away if I lose interest in the subject matter (I haven’t been to the Puyo Puyo subs in months, for example)… but “generalized” boards tend to gather more idiotic crowds.
Still, it’ll be fun to link them to this and see how they squirm. The more truth there is in a statement, the more they hate it (as proven by their reaction to my “politics” topic).