[Haskell-cafe] Comments from OCaml Hacker Brian Hurt

Peter Verswyvelen bugfact at gmail.com
Thu Jan 15 13:59:48 EST 2009

It is rather funny. When we are young kids, we learn weird symbols like
A B C  a b c 1  2  3

which we accept after a while.

Then we get to learn more complex symbols like

! ? + - /

and that takes some time to get used to, but eventually, that works too.

But Functor, Monoid or Monad, that we cannot accept anymore. Why, because
these are not intuitive? Are the symbols above "intuitive"?

When I started learning Haskell I also found it insane that
strange terminology was used everywhere... But every time I try to find a
better name, the name is too specific for the situation at hand. Just like
Appendable is a good name for specific instances of Monoid

In F# they renamed Monads to Workflows for the same reason. I find this just
as confusing since a Monad has nothing to do with "work" and maybe a little
bit with a single threaded "flow"... I would have hoped that we could all
stick to the same terminology that was invented a long time ago...

Since Haskell is mainly for computer scientists, changing all of this to
make it more accessible to newcomers might lead to the mistake: "if you try
to please the whole world, you please nobody".

I mainly think the problem is not the name, but the lack of many tiny
examples demonstrating typical use cases for each concept.

On Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 7:27 PM, Lennart Augustsson
<lennart at augustsson.net>wrote:

> That's very true.  But programming is one where mathematical precision
> is needed, even if you want to call it something else.
> On Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 6:04 PM, Paul Moore <p.f.moore at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Mathematical precision isn't appropriate in all disciplines.
> >
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