Want Social Norms? 9-Steps to Building a Strong Culture (Part 1)

Jessica Outlaw
Jun 21, 2019 · 7 min read

Heroes, Archetypes, and Mascots: Easier than Programming AI Moderators

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Photo by Val Vesa on Unsplash


In the first section of this blog series, I’m going to introduce three elements on who are the trendsetters in VR. By identifying who are the heroes, archetypes, and mascots in a community, you can learn who deserves respect, what behaviors get celebrated, and who the adversaries of the community might be.


Heroes are people you look up to. Heroes create language and they create stories. Through the hero’s journey, they create what the enemy is and signify what type of person is worthy of admiration and emulation. For example, in Ready Player One, Wade Watts is defined as heroic by how he acts to subvert to the enemy corporation in the story.

  • Jaron Lanier — pioneer of VR tech, scientific officer at Microsoft and self-described Renaissance man
  • Elon Musk — while I’m not aware of Elon doing any work specifically in XR, people frequently bring up his name in conversation. Name repetition indicates who are the heroes of a community are.
  • Hiro Protagonist, the main character of Stephenson’s Snowcrash
  • The community can decide who they want to celebrate and tell stories about.


An archetype in this context means a very typical example of a person or thing. For example, the archetype of a social VR space would be the key personality type or set of values that in-group members are supposed to exhibit. So if the values of a certain social VR platform was “We are a place for creators,” then creator is the archetype.


The third element is mascots, which are embodied symbols. They have stories and myths behind them, and give people a narrative to pay attention to.

Takeaway Questions:

  • Who are the heroes where you spend time in social VR? Who is represented in them?
  • What archetypes exist in social VR? Are there community-sourced archetypes that you want to acknowledge and amplify?
  • What mascots are recognized by your users and what do they signify? What stories are they a part of?

Series overview

1. Heroes, Archetypes and Mascots

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