This might be a long shot, but here goes.

I work in internet technology and often encounter (virtually and some times physically) people with the following characteristics. Is there a term or phrase that describes people with the following characteristics?

  • highly critical of others' endeavors
  • general lack of empathy
  • overly idealistic (especially about technology)
  • often engage in bikeshedding (Parkinson's law of triviality)
  • argumentative, often ranting
  • fail to understand the average person's point of view

Any thoughts?

  • 5
    I find the term "people who do not agree with me" covers most of that. Perhaps you could provide more context on the situations in which these traits are displayed.
    – Fortiter
    Dec 19, 2012 at 6:01
  • It happens a lot on internet forums, especially the discussion pages on Hacker News stories (news.ycombinator.com). I hardly ever engage with these people, so 'not agreeing with me' would not reflect what I'm looking for. I notice it more with their interactions with other people.
    – mark
    Dec 19, 2012 at 6:14
  • 2
    Oh, you mean Comic Book Guy? simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Jeffrey_Albertson
    – choster
    Dec 19, 2012 at 6:44
  • 1
    Interesting question. We do need a word for that label for that particular cluster of characteristics, so that we can start applying that label to one another in flamewars.
    – Pitarou
    Dec 19, 2012 at 8:11
  • 1
    I think this question is hopelessly Not Constructive. About the only common factor in these disparate characteristics is that OP has chosen to present them as negatives (they could have just as easily been presented positively - candid, objective, pragmatic, etc.). @Fortiter's "people who do not agree with me" is probably as good as it gets (but I'd go for the infinitely more expressive assholes myself! :) Dec 19, 2012 at 18:27

5 Answers 5


TBH that's just typical of many geeks. But, the hardcore examples can be "Evangelists" or "Fanbois" (Fanbois being blinkered evangelists for their chosen device, programming language, approach, idea, etc. to the exclusion of rational argument / criticism).

I'm sure there are plenty more terms on the Hacker's Jargon Guide, although most are dated or US-specific. Weenie or wannabee might be suitably derogatory, if slightly obscure.

  • I think you're essentially right, the stereotypical geek or nerd fits the bill here.
    – mark
    Dec 19, 2012 at 20:21

Here is an interesting explanation of key traits of a sub-form of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) called Dissocial Personality Disorder.

The World Health Organization's International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, tenth edition (ICD-10), defines a conceptually similar disorder to antisocial personality disorder called (F60.2) Dissocial personality disorder. It is characterized by at least three of the following traits:

  1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others,
  2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations,
  3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them,
  4. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge aggression, including violence;
  5. Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment;
  6. Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that brought the person into conflict with society

I can't imagine ever slinging, "You're a real DPD case" at someone in your office without sounding a little socially inept yourself, but it does validate the connection you see among those traits. With that said, I wouldn't hesitate to call a person who behaves in that manner and is bringing down the office (in decreasing levels of severity):

  • abusive
  • insolent
  • scurrilous (if the person was also crude)
  • a tech nazi
  • A Nick Burns (If your office watched SNL in the early 2000s)

narcissist may be close: a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish, characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem.


apathetic pompous prick

pompous prick is listed in urban dictionary


Narcissistic personality disorder. Google it, read, compare the victims stories and experiences. Odds are its what you are looking for.

  • Welcome to ELU. Please include links and any references to support your answer. Jan 15, 2013 at 5:33

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