The term 'avatar' is used to a popular degree for virtual-representations of real people since Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. 'Cyberpunk' is a real genre of science fiction that commonly uses this term/trope.

As such, I request that the current (as it is presently wiki'd- for the recent movie Avatar) be renamed to 'avatar-movie' to make the shorter tag-name available for broader use, if the populace deems fit.

  • 2
    what questions do you expect to see under this tag that would have people subscribing to it? Commented Feb 9, 2013 at 10:38
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    @sarge_smith Residual self-image in The Matrix has come up in many questions/answers here. Those are avatars.
    – Izkata
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 7:19
  • @Izkata true, but is tagging them that way more or less likely to produce an expert answer? It seems that tagging each movie (or whatever) universe is way more likely produce a good answer over asking a broad based query that is likely to run into conflicting universes. I can't see the need. It just sounds like a pile on tag with no use on it's own, while the avatar tag as used is something I can see getting use by people who like that movie. Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 10:44
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    Virtual representations of physical humans go a bit beyond The Matrix. Snow Crash. Neuromancer. Reboot. Tron. Questions involving the connection/disconnect between the flesh and the avatar. In any case, I didn't ask that a tag be created for that, I asked that the movie-specific tag be labelled with '-movie' in order to allow this or other more ambiguous uses as the community sees fit. The community doesn't need to decide to fill the resulting gap now.
    – Solemnity
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 4:49
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    What about the confusion between James Cameron's Avatar and Avatar: The Last Airbender/Legend of Aang (and Legend of Korra)? That's what I assumed this would be about when I clicked into it. Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 19:42

1 Answer 1


Changing to makes sense to me.

However, I think repurposing to be something other than a reference to the movie is a bad idea.

First and foremost, the term "avatar" does not exclusively refer to "virtual-representations of real people".

The older meaning of the term refers to physical manifestations of divine beings. This term is used in this fashion by at least a few titles that would fall under this site's scope, and would cause confusion with "avatar" as used in the more technological/virtual sense.

The two concepts are far enough apart that I don't think it makes sense to lump them together under a single tag.

Even if they were closer in concept, I don't think "avatar" is universally accepted enough for everyone to assume that a virtual representation of a real person would be tagged "avatar". I have seen holo presence, tele presence and remote viewing/presence used to describe similar concepts, and I've also seen the concept used in sources that never attempted to label it one way or another.

This makes the tag insufficiently useful, imo. If not everyone is going to assume that that's the term they should be tagging/searching upon, it isn't worth creating a tag for it.

  • That's not directly what the question is about. It's one possible thing we can do after doing what the question is asking about. Unless you're just trying to add to the confusion in an attempt to support @Solemnity's proposal?
    – Izkata
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 0:38
  • @Izkata Somehow I dropped the part of my answer that said avatar becoming avatar-movie made sense... I've added that part in. Thanks.
    – Beofett
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 1:55
  • Aaand the entire thing makes more sense now ;)
    – Izkata
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 2:07

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