Once created, geeks can use their geek codes anywhere they please. Previous places include emails, websites, letters, art, programming language comments, and even T-shirts. Nowadays, personal websites are the most common breeding ground, particularly any "about me" sections.
A few years before the the Geek Code was published, similar codes existed for other purposes. The Natural Bears Classification System is a very similar code for the Bear community. Like the Geek Code, it generally uses a single letter for the attribute and + or - signs for the grade. It was inspired by the Yerkes spectral classification system for describing stars. Unlike the Geek Code, this spectral classification system uses classes, subclasses & peculiarities for categorization. These systems differ in their orthogonality, the Geek Code is very orthogonal in the computer science sense (may be projected onto basis vectors), where the Yerkes system is very orthogonal in the taxonomic sense (represent mutually exclusive classes).
In some parts of the net, it was once common practice to use a geek code as one's signature, though those times are now long past. One of the consequences of being so old in such a fast-moving field is that much of the geek code now looks rather dated. The World Wide Web is described as "relatively new and little understood" — while the latter may still be accurate, the former certainly isn't.
Robert Hayden's own geek code is:
-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------
G(for Geek) followed by the Geek's occupation(s):
GMUfor a geek of music. Then we get into the geek code proper. For geeks with multiple occupations, a slash or slashes is or are used:
GMD/TW, for instance, for a geek of medicine and technical writing. There are 24 occupations that can be represented and 4 special indicators:
GO- Geek of other, for occupations that can't be represented normally.
GU- Geek of undecided.
G!- Geek of no qualifications.
GAT- Geek of all trades, for those who can do anything.
trepresents Star Trek. The geek code's author has this to say about Star Trek:
Meanwhile, the lower-case letter
r represents relationships. Geeks are less associated with relationships than they are with Star Trek, and the geek code says this about them:
The geekcode website at geekcode.com contains the complete list of categories, along with all the special syntax options. The choice of categories (from version 3 onwards) reflects what geeks consider important. Appearance takes up three categories, computers - thirteen, computer-related politics - two, general politics - two, computer-related interests - six, other interests - three, lifestyle and sex - four.
-signs showing how much the geek agrees or disagrees with the category. For example,
t+++indicates a geek who thinks this about Star Trek:
On the other hand, someone who puts
r--- in their geek code feels the following way about relationships:
@after a category means that the geek's feelings on this category are not very rigid and can change with time, while a dollar sign implies the geek is in the enviable position of being paid for their work in this category.
Originally, geek codes were designed as a quick reference about a geek's preferences for use in .sig files on Usenet and email. Pete Williams wrote a program called ungeek.pl that automatically decoded a geek code into the English definitions. In late 1998, Bradley M. Kuhn made Williams' program available as a web service Joe Reiss made a similar page available in October 1999.