Last year, Stack Exchange ran Winter Bash 2014, in which users earned hats which they proudly displayed upon their gravatar. There was a leaderboard of hatters, mad or not:

2014 top hat wearers

It's that time of the year again and we get to choose whether we want to do it again this time around. Hats are enabled on a per-site basis, but each site has to opt-in and choose to participate.

What are hats, I hear you ask. Well, hats are kinda like ephemeral badges. You can choose to have one displayed over your avatar and you win them by certain actions on the webpage. Users can turn off hats on a per-user basis, so if you're against them for any reason, you can disable the feature and not see your hats nor those of the users who have opted in. As far as you are concerned, the hats will not exist.

If we choose to accept, the event will run from 15 December 2015 to 4 January 2016. After that, all the hats go away into Last Year's Hat Bin. More information will be available on the 2015 Winter Bash page.

We need to decide if we want hats by Thursday December 10. So, do we like hats or hate hats?

  • 3
    Isn't this how Team Fortress 2 got started? :-). I'm sure there's a whitepaper around that explains the psychological benefits of gamification through the usage and distribution of hats though... As long as it's all opt-in, I don't really see a downside to it... so.. yay? Dec 4, 2015 at 3:05
  • How exactly are we supposed to vote for or against this. I'm in favor of virtual hats (although I don't really like physical ones).
    – David King
    Dec 4, 2015 at 16:37
  • 2
    @DavidKing well, normally someone posts a "Yes I want hats" answer and someone else an "I hate hats" one and people vote accordingly. So far, we have one answer which is basically for, so upvote that one if you want them. Most sites just do it unless there is a clear consensus against it. Since it's not forced on anybody and everyone can opt out as desired, it seems innocuous enough.
    – terdon Mod
    Dec 4, 2015 at 16:44
  • 5
    is there an i hate hats hat?
    – mikeserv
    Dec 5, 2015 at 15:58

2 Answers 2


I don't know if I'll like them or not, but I think it's been designed correctly:

Opt-in on a per-site basis, and opt-out on a per-user basis.

So I say, go for it. If I don't like them I will disable the feature, but I won't know unless we enable it for this site.

If you want to opt in to this years Winter Bash, upvote this answer to say a big

Yes, gimme the hats!

  • Yes, that's exactly how it works. Once Winter Bash has started, it will take you two clicks to opt out, in which case you won't earn any hats, and you won't see hats on other users. The only difference to normal site operation will be the extra icon in the top bar. It's also possible for unix.se to decide you want to opt-out by default, in which case only users who explicitly opt in will participate.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Dec 4, 2015 at 6:43
  • Excellent point; the feature should be a very minor disturbance to users who don't want it. I'd also say go for it.
    – dhag
    Dec 4, 2015 at 18:13
  • 1
    I edited so it's clearer that this answer serves as the "Yes, I want hats" answer. I hope you don't mind.
    – terdon Mod
    Dec 5, 2015 at 11:44
  • I like hats like cats!  But @balpha's comment puzzles me — will a user be able to opt-in to hats in a community that has opted out? Dec 6, 2015 at 8:23
  • @G-Man Yes. It's also possible for a community to say they want to completely disable Winter Bash for no chance to opt in at all, but mathoverflow.net is usually the only site with that setting. You can find very detailed info on that in this answer of mine.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Dec 6, 2015 at 8:27
  • 1
    Hmm.  It seems like @terdon has misled us, by presenting us with two choices when there are really three, and both of you are playing word games.  I would say that MathOverflow is the one that's opting out, while Stack Overflow is instituting imperial hats, which are invisible (until appropriately illuminated). Dec 6, 2015 at 8:46
  • @G-Man - I'll bite - how do you like cats?
    – mikeserv
    Dec 6, 2015 at 16:44
  • 2
    @mikeserv: I like Cats in Hats, of course! Dec 6, 2015 at 23:49
  • 1
    Turns out I like sideways hats the best. :) My Onion Knight hat works especially well for this, since it indicates the shape of a head by itself (unlike some other hats). So now I am peeking sideways from my avatar like a Jardinains gnome.
    – Wildcard
    Dec 20, 2015 at 8:25

For the sake of completeness, upvote this answer to say a big

NO to hats!

  • 10
    hatters gonna hate? ^^ Dec 6, 2015 at 18:55
  • the hats are meh, however a nice big shiny button for starting a chat in plain view, would be great.
    – moonbutt74
    Jan 12, 2016 at 22:54
  • @moonbutt74 please post a feature request for that sort of thing. I am the only one who's notified by your comment and I can't do anything about it. You need a Stack Exchange employee. That said, SE have repeatedly stated that they are not interested in making this a social tool. It's a Q&A site and being able to open a chat with a user is not something they would care to implement. A position I personally share, it would be awful if anyone could chat with anyone. We already have chat rooms, those who want to can go join them.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 13, 2016 at 9:09
  • @terdon , i think you misunderstood but, meh.
    – moonbutt74
    Jan 13, 2016 at 12:37

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