[Haskell-cafe] A Mascot

Jeremy Shaw jeremy at n-heptane.com
Tue Nov 22 06:22:49 CET 2011

I think the artwork is nice, but I am not sure that a lamb is an
appropriate mascot for Haskell.

A mascot is supposed to represent characteristics, emotions, or
desires that a particular group of people aspire to have, be like,
etc. To outsiders, it provides a quick way to see if it might be a
group they would like to belong to, and for insiders, it helps
strengthen the bond and group identity by reminding them what they
stand for.

So far, the only justification I have noticed for why a lamb would
represent Haskell users is that there is a pun about lambda's -- which
only makes sense if you know English. Sheep are generally thought of

 - weak and needing protection
 - easily lead astray
 - being lead to the slaughter
 - dumb and easily lost

Not sure those are traits that Haskeller's generally aspire to have.

I think Haskeller's like Haskell because it is:

 - elegant
 - sophisticated
 - reliable
 - robust

Haskeller's tend to be people who are curious. Pioneers who are
willing to go off the beaten path in search of something better.
People who are willing to evaluate something based on its merits
rather than the mere approval of the mainstream. People who aspire to
create elegant, beautiful code. People looking to better their skills,
even if they don't use Haskell for most of their coding. And there is
definitely a pragmatic aspect. Part of the appeal of Haskell is that
it can actually be used for many real world applications and can often
do the job better. The fact that you can use it to deliver more
reliable and robust code in less time, is a very real and tangible

Here are some suggestions of my own. I am not really excited about any
of them either -- but they give some examples of how I think a mascot
might work:

 - owl: traditionally thought of as 'wise'. Known for their keen
(in)sight. Of course, some cultures believe they are a bad omen and a
sign of impending death..

 - honey badger - can't beat that for 'robust' and 'fearless',

 - james bond - he's sophisticated, reliable, and he does it with
'class'. hahah, more silly puns :p Of course, he is also not public
domain :) Plus, it is too male oriented.

In summary, a mascot is supposed to elicit an emotional response from
people and help create a bond. To do that, it needs to provide
emotional leadership and say that, "if you use Haskell, you can be
like X". That doesn't it mean it can't be cute. People do tend to bond
easily to cute things (like kittens!). But I don't think cute is
enough. I also don't think that representing 'features' of Haskell,
like 'laziness' or 'higher order' is the right core appeal either.
That is too mental -- not enough emotion. Those things can, of course,
be represented in the depiction of the mascot. Nothing wrong with
cleverly hiding lamba's and _|_ in the picture. But, for example,
saying that Haskell is 'lazy' so we should pick a sloth, is not really
a good choice, IMO.

- jeremy

On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 7:01 PM, heathmatlock <heathmatlock at gmail.com> wrote:
> I liked Go's mascot, and I figure it couldn't hurt to have our own. I spent
> the past hour making this:
> http://i.imgur.com/Mib6Q.png
> What do you think?
> --
> Heath Matlock
> +1 256 274 4225
> _______________________________________________
> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
> Haskell-Cafe at haskell.org
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