goth is a subculture that grew out of the punk culture in the 80s.
i will agree with non-goths in that most goths are very evasive when it comes to defining the term "goth." i will also agree with them in that "goths" who simply whine and make fun of non-"goths" are pricks. most "goths" don't really know what it means to be goth.
the gothic period (late 1700s-1800s) was a period of the "sublime." rather than look for skin deep beauty in something, the gothics would look for intellectual or moral value. for example, they would prefer a battered old castle staircase to a sparkling new marble staircase because the old one has more character.
the TRUE goths of today are named this way because they follow this thought pattern of looking for the thought-provoking instead of the aesthetic. why revel in the darker side of life? "sinister" things (i.e., death, fate) provide more food for thought than pretty things (i.e., blue skies, love).
thinking in this rather morbid way usually results in the true goth being rather satirical. SOMETIMES they may be withdrawn and maybe a little snide, but this is because knowledge is a burden.
the pseudo-goth (the one everyone thinks of when they hear "goth"; bear in mind, i do NOT consider these people goth) is some middle school douche who shops at hot topic and listens to music in the gothic genre (i.e., bauhaus) whether or not they actually like the music. they are quick to judge people and make fun of them every chance they get.
then theres the TRUE goth (like me). we think in the manner of the people of the aforementioned gothic period. some of us are "artsy" simply because we can express our knowledge so freely in it. we don't *neccessarily* shop at hot topic (though they have some cool shirts) and we don't *neccessarily* listen to goth music/death metal (i like pink floyd & queen). we are intellectuals.
most of us are pretty nice. many goths are outcasts in some perspective, so they are often receptive to people who need a friend.
fake goth (aka valley girl goth): like, oh my goth, gag me with a crucifix! i got this bauhaus shirt because ellen and julia and megan and paula have it! i'm so individual! i wish i knew what bauhaus was...
real goth (like me): ...style doesn't make a goth; your thought process is most important