When I went to college at Rice University, I became aware of a 100 point “Purity Test” designed to determine how pure you were. Of course in college, the goal was to not be all that pure, but not to have so low a score you were embarrassed. Similarly, there has been discussions about “fake geek girls” — basically questioning the geek credentials of some women like everyone had to have a certain minimum level to be taken seriously. I believe people of all types should be able to join in geek events and have fun whether they’re sufficiently geek credentialed or not, but I wondered how one might one go about quantitatively evaluating “geekiness” like Rice did for “purity?” Well, we can write a parallel test. I won’t promise that mine will do that perfectly, and I surely have my own biases and blindspots, but I’ve participated in enough geek culture to have a clue about its parameters. While I suppose someone can be a geek about all sorts of things, I have in mind the kind of person who might be found at a science fiction convention.
To take the 50 question test below, give yourself two points when you answer “yes” to the questions below beginning, “Have you ever…”
1. Attended a small (< 2000 people) science fiction convention?
2. Attended a one of the major science fiction conventions (e.g, Worldcon, Dragon*con)?
3. Attended a Comic-Con or media-oriented Convention (e.g. Shoreleave)?
4. Voted for an award at a Con (e.g. Hugo award)?
5. Played Dungeons and Dragons?
6. Played any other paper/dice role-playing games (RPGs) like Tunnels and Trolls or Gamma World?
7. Played a Live-Action Role Playing Game (LARPed)?
8. Played an RPG using minatures?
9. Played an RPG using minatures you painted yourself?
8. Played an RPG video game?
9. Spent more than 8 hours in a single sitting playing a single video game?
10. Spent more than 50 hours in total playing a single video game?
11. Played Everquest, Asheron’s Call, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Halo, or Diablo?
12. Played Settlers of Cataan?
13. Played Magic the Gathering?
14. Attended a filking event?
15. Sang at a fiking event?
16. Wore a costume in public as an adult?
17. Made a costume for yourself as an adult?
18. Wore a costume in public when it wasn’t Halloween?
19. Entered a masquerade contest?
20. Won a prize at a masquerade contest?
21. Read a story in Asimov’s, Analog, Amazing Stories, or Fantasy and Science Fiction?
22. Written a speculative fiction story?
23. Written fanfic?
24. Submitted speculative fiction for possible publication?
25. Gotten the autograph of a speculative fiction writer?
26. Read a speculative fiction novel?
27. Read a graphic novel?
28. Read a comic book as an adult?
29. Read manga?
30. Read Lord of the Rings?
31. Read Watchmen?
32. Read some Sandman?
33. Read Snowcrash?
34. Read Starship Troopers?
35. Read a Harry Potter book?
36. Read Dune?
37. Watched an episode of one of the Star Trek series?
38. Watched more than 50 episodes of Star Trek?
39. Discussed whether you preferred Kirk or Spock?
40. Discussed or read Kirk/Spock slash?
41. Watched all the Star Wars movies?
42. Complained about Jar-Jar Binks?
43. Watched an episode of old Doctor Who?
44. Watched an episode of new Doctor Who?
45. Watched an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
46. Learned which superheroes are Marvel, and which are DC?
47. Been disappointed by a superhero movie because of changes from the source material?
48. Watched anime?
49. Watched 2001: A Space Odyssey?
50. Had a discussion about the endings of Lost, Battlestar Galactica, or the Prisoner?
What’s your score?
Maybe I’ll revise this, if there’s much interest, and expand it to 100 questions. I could be a little more general, maybe, and I’m sure I’ve missed some categories (for instance, there’s little internet or technology specific here). What would you suggest to improve the test?