Sunday, September 23, 2012

Do Avatars Die?

"Den döende dandyn" (The Dying Dandy) (1918), by Nils von Dardel
I seem to recall my buddy sirhc DeSantis-McMillan once posing the question, on his blog or somewhere else, "What do we mean when we say that an avatar dies?" At the time I did not know what to respond to his question, but now perhaps I have an inkling.

My own gut response would be to say that avatars cannot die because they themselves have not had life. The life they seem to have comes from their handlers, i.e. the persons behind the avatars.

However, handlers can stop logging into SecondLife for various reasons except their dying. They could simply lose interest or they could even choose to delete their account altogether. In those cases I don´t believe we would use "died" to describe what occurred to the avatar, but rather "they left" or just "they don´t log in anymore".

In my experience, we use the expression that "an avatar has died" only in those circumstances when we know - or believe - that the handler has in fact passed away. So in that sence I would say that avatars can - and do - die.

Now tell me what you think and what your experience is of the vernacular among residents of SecondLife in these matters?


  1. No they never die! they will fly forever free around the loved places,beloved persons and that it vey comforting i think.We will go on-all of us forever so will Ars.I will always remember him.So he will always be here.

    1. Yes dearest Ziga, our dear departed will always live on in our memories and that is truly comforting. Doug/Ars will in someway always be here for me, as others are with their loved ones.

      As you say they may be with us in spirit - or so we wish to believe - but nevertheless (to be quite brutal) as they are no longer with us in body, they are dead in the literal meaning of the word.


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