Talk:Avatar (computing)

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Avatars & their...[edit]

Here's an interesting question posed to me by my son: In a role-playing game, my son Peter is represented by the magician Ornut Azureleaf. Ornut Azureleaf is Peter's avatar. Peter is Ornut Azureleaf's ....what?

There are obviously many possible names for the creator/owner/user/master of an avatar (some of them in the list I have just typed. I was wondering whether there is any widely accepted term, or interesting terms (like the term "avatar" itself)invented for particular games or other programs?

Nice article, BTW author(s).

Chris Baker

Soul? Wit 8 July 2005 16:47 (UTC)
"USER" Peter is Ornut Azureleaf's user. --BerserkerBen 06:12, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
One vulgar term is "Meat", Peter is Ornut's Meat -Prince of Cats 16:53, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
By the way the term avatar on the internet and in games is based off the impression that a god can manifest it self as a mortal is very much the same to how a computer user can manifest s/he self as some form of computer generated sprite. I think this should be made clear somewhere on the article. --BerserkerBen 06:12, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
His IRL form. IRL means In real life. It's what most ppl call them on gaiaonline. ~Moonchild Trix~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:56, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
God, how fucking hard is it. It's a game. A game where he's playing a role. He is the player, either in the sense of the person playing the game (think sport) or in the sense of the person playing the role (think acting). He plays the avatar. He is the avatar's player. Fuck about... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:46, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
One need only to look to the early history of avatars (in MOOs and MUDs) to find the answer, in which people called themselves "typists" to their virtual selves (an accurate term in my humble opinion, assuming, of course, that this particular term will not become obsolete with the the loss of keyboards avatar manipulation). CryptoStorm (talk) 04:30, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Origins of word "Avatar"[edit]

Hm, can anyone back me up on this? "Avatar" seemed to be the name of a game on the PLATO system (there's a PLATO Wiki page), a MMORPG. I remember playing it in 1990, and it had been around for several years. This would make a change in the origin listed here. This Page lists Avatar, but does not provide a specific date. 09:45 and 09:56, 27 February 2006 (UTC)JESter

I would absolutely guarantee that Avatar has its origin in the PLATO game Avatar (which I think dates to circa 1974). I don't know if the PLATO Avatar developers got the name directly from the Sanskrit usage or borrowed it from some other not-online RPG context. I'll look into it.Drlith 19:22, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Avatar was indeed an old early RPG - the term was also used in Ultima if I'm not mistaken.

I removed this from the "Origin" section - no idea how it snuck in there: " 00:37, 29 August 2006 (UTC)===Sanskrit===" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:22, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Removed Avatar word came from the word "AVTAR". ; felt it was inappropriate as was discussed much better in the preceeding paragraph - "...[comes from original Sanskrit meaning incarnation]...". _> MonstaPro:Talk 15:40, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

I think that the etymology of the word is important and should be noted in this article. At least a mention of it and a link to Avatar — Preceding unsigned comment added by MyNameWasTaken (talkcontribs) 18:46, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Page Move?[edit]

I don't think that this is the right title for the page anymore... this definition of avatar is applicable way outside of virtual reality - what d'ya reckon? Petesmiles 10:30, 5 October 2006 (UTC) - what the hey - i went ahead and did it anyway, so pipe up if there's any problem! Petesmiles 10:35, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Mouse Picture[edit]

The caption under the mouse is "Notice the mouse blinking". I did not. Can you tell me if my computer is not working properly or if the caption is incorrect?

Paddyman1989 15:54, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

It's quite subtle, and only every seven seconds or so. It was meant to make people wonder if anything moved, without them really noticing. Almost subliminal, so-to-speak :-) Wit 17:00, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

The mouse does move, you just have to wait a for a min... Aero Flame 11:53, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Virtual models[edit]

I deleted the virtual model section because they are not avatars. They are virtual models. June-gloom 08:20, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

The original article "Avatar (virtual reality)" which now redirects into this topic was about a SPECIFIC, NAMED piece of technology which was demonstrated by a company at the Millenium Dome in the UK when it was open. It has only tenuous relevance to this article on Avatar Icons, and in the process of redirecting it (and later removing the reference to virtual models, see above) all relevance to the original has been lost. See here: --TheGreatFoo 11:32, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

add info about gravatars or restore the old gravatar article[edit]

I see that Gravatar redirect to the Avatar page, so i started reading the avatar article; but there is no mentioning about gravatars or what they are, so i searched for it at google (define:gravatar). google referred to the gravatar page and also had a description of what gravatars were specific (cached history of the page).

Either the gravatars page should not redirect to the avatar page but have its own description as it has had in the past, and refer to the avatar page for more information on the subject, OR the avatar page should have information about what gravatars are as well.

In my mind the first is the most suitable. as gravatar is a spin-off of the avatar and relates to a specific product/feature/service —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:56, 20 December 2006 (UTC)


Same goes for favatar. A plain redirect with no mention of the term is wrong. --Damnian 22:25, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

invention of the word "Avatar"[edit]

Avatar the Horse.

The claimed "invention" of the word avatar strikes me as improbable. A horse by the name of Avatar won the Belmont Stakes in 1975 with Willie Shoemaker aboard.

Gaylord ---- —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:25, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Type of Avatar[edit]

I have to disagree with the type of 'Avatar' used in computer games, which is supposedly the case here. Surely there is a difference between 'Forum-avatars', (Which in my opinion is a picture used on websites which is representative of the persons image or their mood) and 'character avatars', (Higher powers, incarnation of gods on earth, heroes etc). Surely the used of 'Avatar' in computer games is more representative of the latter, rather than pictures used in online-forums. Paul Norfolk Dumpling 08:55, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Unless you are playing a game such as Black and White, I fail to see how an avatar in computer games has anything to do with gods or higher powers. It is simply a representation of yourself within a virtual medium, possibly to avoid confusion with other peoples' representations, such as on a message board or game. The term is in no way restricted to message boards. I can confidently say that I am not a higher power, so my representation within a video game is not an incarnation of a higher power. UtmostCathode 05:00, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
I still have to disagree. To start with, how are we defining 'Icon'? There is Icon which are religious images (Pictures of saints, gods, primarily used in worship & as protection aids), and also Icon (Computing) which is used in Computing. Also, how exactly can a fictional character (As used in video games)be used as a representation of ourselves? If that were the case, surely we would have magical powers or be superhuman, since it is supposedly representation of ourselves. I think the first use of the word 'Avatar' in a video game may have been the Ultima series. This term is used in the game, as part of the story line. The main character is refered to as 'The Avatar'. I'm pretty sure that when the game was being made, they did not mean the characters to say, "Oh look, it is the Avatar, who is a digital representative character of someone controlling the video game". But instead i'm sure they meant, "Oh look, the Avatar, a hero, and an incarnation of god". I do understand, that obviously, all terms which define an Avatar in the religious/mythical sense are not of relevence here, but surely the idea of 'Avatar' in video games was and is based upon the idea of a powerful being or an incarnation of good. Maybe we are in need of clearer statements which define forum-avatars, and character-avatars. Paul Norfolk Dumpling 08:52, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Can I just add, that I have found the perfect quote to back up what I have just said. "An Avatar is Divinity taking human form". Paul Norfolk Dumpling 08:58, 10 May 2007 (UTC)


Why is the word "fora" being used as the plural to forum? Fora is apparently the latin plural, however "forums" is both grammatically correct and in common use. Why not use that? Harley peters 23:28, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

This article should be renamed[edit]

The recent AFD nomination of a stub called Avatar (video games) demonstrates that calling this article Avatar (icon) is inappropriate. No one will be looking for this subject under the word "icon" which is an outdated terminology anyway. I recommend renaming this article Avatar (computing) or Avatar (Internet) since that is the most widely used venue. You rarely hear of Avatars used in any sort of non-online venue. But it's not correct to use Avatar (gaming) or Avatar (video games) because the term is also being used to apply to user representation in non-game virtual worlds such as Second Life. Since this is a major piece of terminology -- and because a "spinoff" article is currently under AFD consideration, I don't feel it appropriate to be bold and make the change unilaterally. I'd like to see what the consensus is on this issue. 23skidoo (talk) 03:54, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree... both Avatar (computing) and Avatar (internet) sound good. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 13:58, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Avatar (computing) seems to be the more appropriate of your suggestions, since at least half of the current article doesn't directly concern the internet. Books, scientific research, etc. But they're mostly centered around computing / computer technology in some way. (And I also agree that Avatar (icon) isn't such a good name) TheBilly (talk) 10:21, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Vanity links to Gaia-knockoffs[edit]

I removed links in "see also" which are vanity links. The pages they link to don't even exist. That's not the reason, of course; I know better than that. It's that they never will exist, and haven't been created in the long time span since these links were added. They need to establish their notibility first, not the other way around. Unverifiable content will be challenged and removed, and now it has been

The sites are just "Gaia-knockoffs" (see the page for Gaia Online), and as such, will never be notable, at least, not in any year soon. All the links I removed were names of Gaia-knockoff sites. Draw some avatars, throw up a phpBB installation, and you've got yourself an imitation Gaia Online. There is no chance they'll have an article (one which won't be deleted, anyway), so there's no need to keep these placeholder links. They only serve as advertisements, and are therefore vanity links. TheBilly 09:17, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

I propose that we move this to a more logical name. Per the above discussion, I've picked Avatar (computing) as the best choice. Discuss. I have also posted this to WP:RM#Other proposals. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 04:20, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Support. The current title seems almost tautologous and "(computing)" is often used, e.g. Mouse (computing). --Lox (t,c) 22:32, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

 Done --Moonriddengirl (talk) 01:57, 11 December 2007 (UTC)


Avatars on computers existed well before the internet.--ZayZayEM (talk) 09:26, 11 December 2007 (UTC)


Is X-Face worth metioning? Mpd (talk) 20:43, 16 June 2008 (UTC)


Mywebface could be mentioned, it cartoonifies a personal picture —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:08, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Morphing avatars[edit]

Morphing avatars that change depending on the persons mood could be created using a Body Area network monitor add in article —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:27, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

The Surrogates[edit]

I am not exactly sure where or how to add information on The Surrogates. It seems like this graphics novel / future movie has a lot in common with avatars. Oldag07 (talk) 13:27, 4 September 2009 (UTC)


Alternatively, City of Heroes offers one of the most detailed and comprehensive in-game avatar creation processes, allowing players to construct anything from traditional superheroes to aliens, medieval knights, monsters, robots and many more.

That sounds like advertisement IMO...--TiagoTiago (talk) 01:41, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

The term "Hack"...[edit]

Needs a better definition before using. When the article states that forums were "hacked" unofficial versions that first supported avatars, it really should state "Modded". Modded is the correct term for an unofficial change that is not malicious or illegal. If the change is unwanted by the owners because it hurts ownership of their IP (by hurting their ability to sell it), then it's a hack. You "Hack" Windows to make a pirated copy. You "Mod" Public license software to do what you want it to.Cflare (talk) 18:08, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

"Correct term" is subjective. For an alternative view, check out Hacker, a disambiguation page listing several articles discussing different perspectives and uses of the terms "hack", "hacking", "hacker". Or just look up hacker, hack on Wiktionary. -- Perey (talk) 14:28, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:Avatar which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —KelleyCook (talk) 12:36, 24 November 2009 (UTC)


Don't the following claims contradict each other?

The term "avatar" can also refer to the personality connected with the screen name, or handle, of an Internet user.[4] This sense of the word was coined by Neal Stephenson[5] in 1992's Snow Crash who co-opted it from the Sanskrit word avatāra which is a concept similar to that of incarnation.

The use of the term "avatar" for the on-screen representation of the user was coined in 1985 by Chip Morningstar in designing Lucasfilm's online role-playing game Habitat.

The source that supports Stephenson's claim to coinage ([1]) does not mention anything about Sanskrit. Factsontheground (talk) 07:45, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Re AOL's IM 'avatar'[edit]

Quote: "America Online invented instant messaging for its membership in 1996 and introduced a limited number of "buddy icons," picking up on the avatar idea from PC games."

It's also possible (if not more likely) that AOL picked up the avatar from its "corporate progenitor" Quantum Link - as the online Habitat (video game) had user avatars.

Regardless of who made the claim about Stephenson (what's their source?), the claim that he 'first used the term' is far-fetched (he may indeed have 'popularized' it -- good luck proving that -- or first used it specifically about the Internet).
The term appeared in games no later than Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (released Sep. 1985). As Randy Farmer (Habitat co-author) himself said, Vinge and Brunner had both used a similar idea in their work (see footnote I added today). The idea (if not the term) goes back at least as far as Budrys 1977 'Michaelmas'. Twang (talk) 19:24, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Conflict with the original religious meaning of Avatar ?[edit]

In my opinion this word has been thoughtlessly misused in the computing and gaming environment: The term "avatar" can also refer to the personality connected with the screen name, or handle, of an Internet user.... from the Sanskrit word avatāra which is a concept similar to that of incarnation.

The original meaning is that of a supreme power or deity to incarnate into our world in times of great danger, see Avatar (Hinduism) . Especially, it is reserved to the incarnation of a limited number of very powerful deities. We should make it clear that this use in the computing and gaming environment is only very loosely linked to the original meaning. Otherwise it has a taste of abuse of a religious term, multiplying because of thoughtlessness. Especially we should change the cited sentence a bit to make this clear.

Transferred to the christian context, it would mean calling such an animated computer figure "Jesus Christ".

Karsten.burger (talk) 10:52, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

One-dimensional username?[edit]

"One dimension" means a line. A one-dimensional username would look like this: _____ (imagine that the line doesn't have the hight of a single pixel, just length). To my knowledge, most internet forums allow the use of two-dimensional usernames (just like this text) with no extra cost... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:53, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

A two dimensional textual username would be somthing like:
Text by itself is just a line with different "values" on each point, it is one-dimensional. If you turn text into a picture then it gains another dimension, but text as a sequence of character is 1d. There is no char above nor bellow any other, all the chars are either to the left or the right of any other char in that username. --TiagoTiago (talk) 07:23, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Avatar usage under discussion again[edit]

See Talk:Avatar_(Hinduism)#Requested_move_2 where it is requested that the move done by 2010 move request be undone, moving the Hindu concept to primary in place of the disambiguation page. (talk) 03:12, 16 February 2011 (UTC)


Usenet (net news) "picons" used to be quite popular, at the moment Wikipedia does not mention this anywhere. As a first step to fix this just add the following line to the external links:

* [ picons] ([[Usenet]] avatars) (talk) 06:41, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Not done for now: picons have information added to the article prior to having the external link included. Jnorton7558 (talk) 10:44, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Clean-up proposed[edit]

I think this article needs some serious re-organizing and cleaning up. The order of the information is super clunky and the wide variety of topics included make for unclear reading. I'll be working on this, but I welcome input from others. MyNameWasTaken (talk) 18:50, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from , 30 October 2011[edit]

avatar - the origin of this word for computer use is based on a novel called "Snowcrash" by Neal Stephenson, 1992. This word is very offensive to a Christian, it is idolatry and should NEVER have been used in conjunction with everyday usage in any way. It involves Hinduism and the person who used the word for computer use knew exactly what they were doing. I highly suggest you remove it from your dictionary, because it should NOT be considered a part of our everyday language. Since when is one use of a word in a novel then entered into a dictionary for common every day usage by everyone? (talk) 12:13, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not censored. And I'm sorry but I fail to see how it being related to hinduism makes it offensive to christianity--Jac16888 Talk 12:18, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Besides - as Neal Stephenson himself points out in an afterword in the novel, he didn't create the term "Avatar" for use in computers - it was previously used in Habitat, so you might want to vent your spleen over there instead. a_man_alone (talk) 17:19, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Edit request on 14 June 2012[edit]

Category:Video game terminology

ABunnell (talk) 03:32, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

I'll do this momentarily; I've reformatted the comment for display. Dru of Id (talk) 03:37, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
I've moved it from the subcategory MUD terminology as too specific. Note that [[Category:X]] places this page in the category and is only visible in the category listing at the bottom except in edit mode, while [[:Category:X]] displays and links to the category. Dru of Id (talk) 03:49, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Edit request Feb 10 2013[edit]

Please delete category Internet Culture. Category Virtual avatars is already a subcat of that (and there are 265 entries in Internet Culture - trying to cut that number down). Thanks (talk) 05:25, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Despite the outcome of this discussion, a merge has been suggested but not formally proposed; therefore, I'm doing it now. Thoughts? Miniapolis 18:34, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Gibson quote is irrelevant[edit]

There's a chunk of text from a William gibson book. It has no relevance because it makes no mention of "avatar", but is merely a description of online visual user interaction. thus, I have boldly removed that bit. (talk) 22:55, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Can you get sued for using a copyrighted image as an advatar without permission?[edit]

I'm talking about images that you need permission to use, or if the author refuses permission request. How about using the image but the image is not saved on the user's "bin" online drive; only using the URL of the image to make it show up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Joeleoj123 (talkcontribs) 00:59, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

IPApl[edit] (talk) 18:06, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

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