There are a lot of different types of Steampunks, and I'm not talking about character archetypes like the mad scientist, air pirate, etc. I mean that within the Steampunk community, you find a variety of different people who all seem to fit into categories that we see all the time. A lot of those categories are annoying, especially when you see them over and over again.
So I figured, hey, may as well write an article about it that's guaranteed to upset practically everyone in the Steampunk community. What's the worst that could happen, right?
You maaaay want to leave your indignation at the door for this article, because we're all guilty of some of these (yes, especially me)!
These folks love to paint Nerf weapons and use them in their costumes. Generally speaking, these are un-modded Nerf weapons that have been painted to look Steampunk-y. No matter how good these guns look, they are still instantly recognizable to everyone as Nerf guns.
Nerf Modders usually don't care to spend the time or money to make more impressive props, so they often find themselves fighting for legitimacy within the community, particularly against...
Material Snobs are those folks who think that only "real" authentic Victorian materials can be used in the construction of Steampunk props. This includes wood, brass, leather, etc. They turn their noses up at plastic, and think that Nerf Modders aren't really making Steampunk art, regardless of how good their work looks.
Definers are people who think that Steampunk, as a movement/genre/whatever, needs to be defined.
They sometimes feel like the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project; they are intent upon finding a definition regardless of whether that definition is later used for good or evil, and they believe that definitions are inherently neutral. This puts them at odds with...
Undefiners believe that creating a definition of Steampunk will unequivocally be used to exclude people from the community who don't adhere to the guidelines established in a definition. Undefiners have usually been victims of Definers in other subcultures, and their catchphrase is "Steampunk is whatever you want it to be."
Further, they think that Definers are jerks.
So-called "social justice" has become a big thing on the internet in the last decade or so, and Steampunk has not been immune to its influence. SteamJustices preach social justice in Steampunk forums, most often the fire-and-brimstone variety.
Threads involving SteamJustices turn into either a bunch of people agreeing with each other, or a huge, nasty argument. While their points are usually valid, they tend to come off as angry jerks, which doesn't make them any friends among...
The Privileged is primarily composed of white men and women who see Steampunk as "escapist", and quickly become defensive whenever someone tries to bring so-called "real world" issues into their escapism.
This includes issues of race and gender, among others.The Privileged hate to be made to feel guilty for anything, so SteamJustices make The Privileged furious; but then again, SteamJustices are often ignored or dismissed even when being calm and rational.
These folks read Steampunk literature but don't really do any costuming or prop-making. However, they sometimes consider themselves Steampunks despite not really engaging in the subculture very much. As a result, they frequently have very strong ideas about exactly what Steampunk is, and those ideas often diverge markedly from those held by the rest of the members of the movement.
The Writers enjoy writing Steampunk fiction, and believe that their writing enables them to talk about Steampunk with authority, which they frequently do. This is especially true of self-published writers who, despite not going through a vetting process by a big publishing company, feel that simply the act of writing a novel entitles them to respect that may or may not be warranted.
The History Nazi (similar to the elusive Grammar Nazi) is convinced that they know a lot about history, regardless of whether that's true or not. Often, History Nazis have read a couple of books on history and then get caught citing Wikipedia during arguments.
They can't stop themselves from correcting anyone who says something they think is inaccurate, not because they can't stand for misinformation to be propagated, but because it makes them feel important.
The Downers don't do much of anything but lurk on online forums and say "That isn't Steampunk" whenever someone posts something that arguably isn't Steampunk. Instead of helpfully explaining why said thing isn't Steampunk, they just pop in only to be obnoxious, and then pop back out again.
Downers will also nitpick the smallest details of an outfit or prop in the hope to find something to complain about.
The Complimenters are the opposite of The Downers. Anytime someone posts a picture of themselves or of something they made, the Complimenters will jump on to say something unhelpful like "Oh, that looks great!" instead of providing any real, useful feedback.
They will also encourage people whose work looks awful. Complimenters are often former victims of the Downers.
Not to be confused with event promoters, the Self-Promoters always want to talk about themselves and their work. Self-Promoters usually have something they're selling, and they find an excuse in almost every post and comment to mention it.
Unfortunately, the work of self-promoters is often either bad, or simply mediocre.
Some Steampunks enjoy getting into character and pretending to live in a Steampunk world. The Characters do this all the time, even when not in costume. This is particularly prevalent on the internet, where Characters will pop in to say something like, "Well I say! Fancy a game of Cricket, dear chap?" in a serious thread. One of the worst combinations is a Character Downer, who likes to point out any anachronisms in people's photographs, such as "Lovely outfit, but what is that ridiculous-looking thing you're holding?" (Hint: it's a cell phone).
The Self-Taught have learned some kind of skill all on their own, either by trial and error, reading books, or watching videos. They are very proud of the skills they've taught themselves, and as a result they refuse to accept criticism from anyone, even from professionals in their field. The Self-Taught firmly believe that they have discovered the best way to do anything, and won't be told otherwise.
Austin Sirkin has, at one time or another, been nearly every single one of the above types of annoying. In fact, even this list is likely annoying many people at this very moment. Thankfully, Austin Sirkin doesn't take himself too seriously, and knows that this is all really just a reminder that no one is a stereotype!
Images from Tyrus Flynn, Effective Time Management Strategies, Regretsy, Mowrer Art, Steampunk R&D, Omega7Red, Steampunk Batman, Stephen Sitton, The Ragged Edge, Johnson Arms, World Wonders, Steampunker, Extravaganzi, and Me.