Indelible Blue Pen

Jason C. McDonald (CodeMouse92)

A Field Guide to Common Nerds

In the autumn of 2010, I stumbled my way into the world of programming, and quickly discovered that the normal rules of communication don’t necessarily apply. That’s when I began documenting all of the weird personalities I’ve encountered.

I created A Field Guide to Common Nerds as a way of sharing my findings with other programmers, both young and old. I’ve even had the opportunity to give this presentation at area colleges several times.

You can watch the latest version of A Field Guide to Common Nerds here.


Here is a brief summary of the documented denizens of the digital domain. Links contained herein.


P. EnablicusProgrammaticus Enablicus

First Documented: 20 February 2016

Disposition: Friendly, but Hazardous

Description: Likes to help others by solving problems for them, thereby circumventing the learning process. P. Nogoogleus feeds off of this species.

P. Mentorious

Credit: David Revoy/Blender Foundation. (CC-BY)

Programmaticus Mentorius

First Documented: 16 August 2011

Disposition: Friendly

Description: Seeks to aid others, especially those with less experience. Patient and helpful. Is capable of seperating answers from advice, and can thereby educate others about design decisions without taking over the project.


P. Militaricus

Credit: David Revoy/Blender Foundation. (CC-BY)

Programmaticus Militaricus

First Documented: 15 June 2012

Disposition: Hostile

Description: A hostile species which believes that their way of writing code is the ONLY way to write code, and all others are imbeciles. Often a strong proponent of pure adherence to a particular brand of “best practice” without regard to any other factors. If it isn’t their idea, it’s “bad practice.”


P. NewbieflamerousProgrammaticus Newbieflamerous

First Documented: 16 August 2011

Disposition: Hostile

Description: Preys on inexperienced programmers. Attacks at any statement deemed obvious, common, or “newbie” in nature. Attacks have also occured over questions which, while decidedly non-trivial, the attacker either knows the answer to or doesn’t and is afraid to admit a lack of knowledge regarding. Species may in fact be hiding inexperience or insecurity.

P. NogoogleusProgrammaticus Nogooglus

First Documented: 09 May 2013

Disposition: Parasitic

Description: A parasitic and invasive species which seeks answers for the express purpose of avoiding doing its own research and/or writing its own code at all. The natural prey of P. Newbieflamerous. Usually feeds off of P. Enablicus.

P. NoreadicusProgrammaticus Noreadicus

First Documented: 16 August 2011

Disposition: Generally Harmless (But Irritating)

Description: Responds without fully reading or understanding questions. While usually harmless, a P. Noreadicus is highly dangerous if given moderator capabilities, as they’re sometimes wrong, but never in doubt. Can morph into more hostile species over time.

P. Takeitovericus

Credit: Niabot (CC-BY)

Programmaticus Takeitoveritcus

First Documented: 16 August 2011

Disposition: Highly Irritating

Description: An occasionally well-meaning species which attempts to take over other people’s projects through the dispensation of uninvited (and generally useless) advice. Will often answer questions by criticizing one’s choice of language, platform, library, toolkit, operating system, and the like.

P. TrendicusProgrammaticus Trendicus

First Documented: 16 October 2015

Disposition: Well-Meaning But Misguided

Description: A well-meaning but misguided species. Asserts that newer technologies have nullified the role and relevance of older technologies (i.e. Python over C). Unfortunately, Trendites have overlooked that the car (Python) does not replace the engine (C). [Both have their place!]