LANCASTER, Mass. – The nerds have inherited the earth, says local geek-culture enthusiast Emmanuel Ortiz, and he is hoping his online magazine can help push nerdom in a positive direction.

Ortiz, 37, is the founder and editor of, a website that features articles on aspects of nerd culture, such as Japanese animation, video games and “cosplay,” where participants create detailed costumes of fictional characters.

The website features lifestyle spins on many of those topics, such as videos asking cosplay performers for dating advice or articles that confront social issues like sexism within nerdy circles.

Nerds are people who get obsessed with things, according to Ortiz, be it comic books, role-playing games or anime, and his website documents how the communities that spring around different groups of nerds are maturing.

A recent piece Ortiz wrote argues that black cosplayers are often criticized for portraying a character of a different race in a way that white, Latino and Asian cosplayers are not.

He said the Internet started as a friendly playground for nerds but as it has become more popular and mainstream, cyberspace has come under siege by trolls, online bullies who mock others for fun. Mocking nerds has become common on the Internet, even from other nerds.

Ortiz, who grew up a nerd in the Bronx in the 1980s, said he hates bullies and hopes to wield Nerd Caliber to hold off the advancing horde of trolls that have taken over the Internet.

“I defend people’s right to be creative,” said Ortiz. “We try not make fun of someone for what they love.”

He said in one video a Nerd Caliber interviewer was seen poking fun at costumed fans of the Homestuck web comic. He had that interviewer apologize to a group of Homestuck fans at a New York City conference and posted the video.

Most of the writers for Nerd Caliber are paid with in-kind services like promotion or a free copy of the material they are reviewing.