I appreciate that you offered the caveat of not shitting on someone who is clearly enthusiastic about a hobby (or whatever). I can get really excited about some stuff — and get academic because, shockingly, I am an academic. It would hurt my feelings if someone blew me off with “I don’t know what that is…” when 1. I was being friendly and 2. I know they probably do.
Then again, I also know just the people I’d use that with — and they are fellow academics.
I might cause a problem for those who are playing this with me, too. I’m a teacher, and I love to explain things so, “I don’t know what x is…” might not lead to “you don’t?!?” but might lead to “ohmigod, x is SO cool. Here, let me dissertate for you on it!” (and we’re back to a nerd being enthusiastic!)
Yes, I know I do it. Yes, I am working on not doing it. Yes, when I catch my self doing it, I stop. Conversations are for more than one person! They’re not lectures!