We live on BeBe year round as it is our home
We are cruisers and currently circumnavigating
We are 3/4ths of the way around in our circumnavigation
We fly an SSCA burgee
We do not have cans or plants on deck, never had these on deck
We keep our dinghy
ready to go
We anchor and dock
as a team
are mounted unless we are in a marina for 30 days or more
We have no solar panels
We have no wind generator
We have no visible modifications
We have a SSB whip antenna
We have no pets
So, what the heck are we?
I think it is safe to say that we are cruisers who live aboard our boat and that since we are truly cruising, we do not stay anywhere for a long time, unless we are waiting out a seasonal change in weather
I think it is difficult to categorize someone by the way his boat looks. I also find it easy to identify someone camping out and calling themselves cruisers. You should probably add 3 categories to your question: "Complainers," "Floaters" and "Experts." It seems that we can usually identify those with a visual and audible sample.
I would say your safe bet is to introduce yourself to new people you notice during your travels. In your conversation you will learn which category to place them...and more importantly, you will not have wasted your time because each person you meet will be an opportunity to learn something new, whether or not they are a cruiser, a live-aboard, or something else. You will have to determine what to do with your new knowledge.
We met a orthopedic surgeon/cruiser one evening at a new anchorage for us. He told us that each evening he would paddle his dingy around the anchorage and meet the people there. He would then invite one of the new crew that he met that evening over to his boat for drinks. He told some amazing stories about some of his more memorable meetings.