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As Winter Bash winds down, I'm interested in hearing your feedback about the event. While I've been pretty responsible about monitoring (and responding to) questions in , I'm more interested in knowing what you all think of the event!

  • What have you enjoyed?
  • What would you like to see for next year?
  • What kept breaking for you but wasn't annoying enough for you to report?
  • Did you find all the secret hats?
  • Which was your favorite hat and why?

And other such information.

Since I'll be making a wrap-up report about the event, it would be really nice to be able to include some user testimonials!

As a reminder: hats go back in their boxes at 23:59 UTC on 4 January 2013. Be sure to collect all your hats (and screencaps of gravatars) by then!

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closed as off-topic by Anna Lear Nov 26 '13 at 20:06

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

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5  
Vote the question up if you like/liked Winter Bash ;) –  Oded Jan 2 '13 at 16:34
55  
Did you find all the secret hats? How do we know if we did? :-P –  Martijn Pieters Jan 2 '13 at 16:35
20  
It was far too hard to earn the hats :) –  ChrisF Jan 2 '13 at 16:37
2  
notice how this question is timed to get the most attention before they steal away all of our hats. –  Servy Jan 2 '13 at 16:39
10  
Think about the badge for participants, or some other permanent memento. –  Lance Roberts Jan 2 '13 at 16:40
7  
I was going to vote to close this question as not constructive, but then I saw who asked it. :) –  kiamlaluno Jan 2 '13 at 16:42
13  
Wait - what's this "winterbash" you're talking about? –  Shog9 Jan 2 '13 at 16:43
13  
I know it's been asked, but I really, really wanted to wear the Abby and the Constantinopolitan at the same time. Because fezzes (and bowties) are cool. –  Joachim Sauer Jan 2 '13 at 18:34
4  
I wonder if I'm the only one who managed to get something of a permanent memento ;) –  Yannis Jan 2 '13 at 20:52
9  
Next year we need resizable, manually-positioned hats! (because changing my Gravatar was too much trouble) –  meta.michael Jan 2 '13 at 21:36
6  
Only complaint is that it was darn near impossible to get any attention on non-hat-related Meta questions for a good solid week. –  meta.michael Jan 2 '13 at 21:38
3  
Frankly I enjoyed being able to turn it off and blocking the tag on meta. Yeah I know, I know, "bah humbug" but seriously, don't take away the ability to disable it - that allows people who want to take part to do so without annoying those of us who weren't fans. I'd agree with @meta.michael too. If someone visits a meta with a genuine problem they're not going to enjoy wading through hat talk. –  RobM Jan 2 '13 at 21:38
7  
Didn't make much sense here in the Southern Hemisphere ;-) –  Yaniv Jan 3 '13 at 0:01
40  
Next year, I suggest celebrating a different shell. Maybe a winterksh or winterzsh. Or even winterposh. –  derobert Jan 3 '13 at 19:57
5  
Maybe consider scaling difficulty based on site traffic (like views per user, votes per question, some such thing)? –  Chris White Jan 7 '13 at 17:41
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41 Answers

I have enjoyed them tremendously!

Secret hats I know of:

or a round 8 (I grabbed 6 so far. Did I congratulate Punyon on his successful epic shave yet? :-P That other thing, that was his wife Laura, and like all mothers she has my awe and worship for that forever). I gathered 25 different hats so far, mostly because I am an answerer, not a question asker.

I loved all of the hats, especially those that fitted my little ninja so well; the crown is the one I wear most though:

King Ninja

but I looked dashing in almost anything:

Cupcake Ninja Fez Ninja

Next year? Moar hats. Moar secret hats. Make us work for 'em!

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1  
@ChrisF There was a post on Arqade about the secret hats - meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/5653/… –  JonW Jan 2 '13 at 16:43
3  
Appropos of nothing: seeing your ninja wearing different hats was half the reason I kept coming back to meta. :P –  Aarthi Jan 2 '13 at 16:54
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@Aarthi: My kids kept making me switch. :-P –  Martijn Pieters Jan 2 '13 at 16:55
8  
That's kind of the most precious thing I've heard! :D –  Aarthi Jan 2 '13 at 16:56
2  
WHAT ABOUT THE BEARD I MUST HAVE THE BEARD HOW DO YOU GET IT –  Asad Jan 2 '13 at 16:59
4  
Someone wanted a N00b Hat so badly they downvoted this post. Meep! –  Martijn Pieters Jan 2 '13 at 17:24
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I enjoyed looking at various hats on your gravatar. I thought you changed your gravatar just to make the hats fit perfectly. –  Jin Jan 5 '13 at 18:01
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@Jin: And here was me thinking the hats had been designed specifically for my Ninja! :-P –  Martijn Pieters Jan 5 '13 at 18:05
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Would be awesome to have x,y offset and zoom percentage per hat. And more non hats, with the ability to be able to wear more than one at a time. Like mixing the stache and pipe with he fez. Yeah.

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I didn't really get involved (wish I had - although I did get a voting on Christmas day hat) but it was always odd that it was Winter Bash when it's summer here (Australia)! Christmas/Summer in Australia could have so many awesome hats, mostly involving beaches, shrimps, barbeques, drop bears...

What would you like to see for next year?

It not to be odd to half the (physical) planet

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4  
Well, I felt many of the hats were, uh, season agnostic. I mean, half of them were accessories not specific to winter! That said, you're right and having it be less overtly ~wintry~ might be a good idea for next time. :) –  Aarthi Jan 3 '13 at 0:15
3  
Where I live is summer all year round and still I have enjoyed it to great extent. –  BalusC Jan 5 '13 at 11:35
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  • What have you enjoyed?

I'd like to say I enjoyed all the extra participation in the site that resulted from the hats, but to be honest I didn't notice any big increase in new users, just the regulars going hat-hunting.

  • What would you like to see for next year?

More bespoke hats for each site. Perhaps one particular one for each site that can be worn across all SE sites, as a bit of promotion for the other sites.

Also, perhaps a global leaderboard, not just site specific ones. I like to see who's getting closest to getting the full set.

  • Did you find all the secret hats?

I don't know. Did we?

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4  
I like the "bespoke hats" idea! –  Jarrod Dixon Jan 5 '13 at 1:34
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What kept breaking for you but wasn't annoying enough for you to report?

The fact that hats didn't appear everywhere. Some of these places are reported, but the ones I'm (slightly) annoyed by are:

  • In the user card, the one when you hover over a user's gravatar on a post
  • In the user dropdown menu, when you hover over your name on the header bar
  • In chat!

Which was your favorite hat and why?

Cupcakes! Cupcakes, cupcakes, CUPCAKES!

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3  
+1 - the gravatar+hat combo in the screenshot just deserve it. –  SPArchaeologist Jan 8 '13 at 8:41
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What have you enjoyed?

Hats!

What would you like to see for next year?

Hats!

What kept breaking for you but wasn't annoying enough for you to report?

Hats!

Did you find all the secret hats?

^secret Hats!

Which was your favorite hat and why?

Hats!


OK, a bit more seriously:

What have you enjoyed?

The whole event. The wackiness of the thing, combined with the fun of searching for secret hats was awesome. I've collected 31 on meta, and feel great about it!

What would you like to see for next year?

More hats. Maybe have them a bit more related to their topic--this year's hats sometimes had no relation at all to the task behind 'em.

A special hat that I was thinking of would be the "Cap". On the first day of winterbash, I hit the:

  • rep cap
  • close vote cap
  • delete cap

on MSO. I expected to get a secret cap for this, but I didn't sad face. We need more caps for hitting various caps!

Also, more secret hats.

What kept breaking for you but wasn't annoying enough for you to report?

Nothing, really. Except my urge to moderate. No hats for moderating, so why do it? ;-)

Did you find all the secret hats?

I seem to have all but Punyon on MSO (And I Feel Fine, n00b Hat, Gotta Catch 'Em All!, Shiver Me Timbers, The Abby, The Cake Is Not A Lie, Bushido) . Unless there are more that I haven't heard of. In which case, TELL ME!

Which was your favorite hat and why?

The Le Magritte. Because I look like the Pringles guy in it:

enter link description here

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7  
Le Magritte really suits you well! –  Joachim Sauer Jan 2 '13 at 18:31
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H ello to all

A lmost time to pack those hats

T o return them to the closet

S hame it has to end


A t least we had fun

R emembering the hats

E very day of the year


A t the end of this year

W e hope to find someting new

E verything will be great

S o much to use for the hats

O ur heads were covered

M issing them already

E nding with a big thank you!

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1  
-1 has a salutation. (I'm joking -- this was cute~) –  Aarthi Jan 4 '13 at 23:35
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From a grumpy old man:

Some of the "hats", especially the I Feel Fine mask, are too large and make everyone look the same.

Several times I have been confused by the same user posting multiple answers to a question, before realizing that there is a small difference at the bottom of the avatar.

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They are all my precious!

Except for those I did not get.

I am very keen on the pirate hat

^_^

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4  
Gollum needz moar hat. This one is just a beanie with a barnacle. –  Robert Harvey Jan 2 '13 at 19:04
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I felt very old and stupid while trying, and failing, to decode many of the jokes in the hat names.

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Aw! That's so sad to hear -- any particular ones trip you up? –  Aarthi Jan 2 '13 at 17:28
1  
what does Wisconsin have to do with a high-scored answer? What's 'the abby'? What does Ceci n'est pas un pipe have to do with reviews? –  Rosinante Jan 2 '13 at 17:34
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The Abby is the only one with a real story behind it. The others were more about Rule of Cool. Abby is an employee here who wears bowties. That's it. –  Aarthi Jan 2 '13 at 17:36
2  
Users from Wisconsin are well-known to write highly-scored answers more often than folks from places with less of a beer-and-cheese culture. –  Shog9 Jan 2 '13 at 18:13
2  
I didn't really think about it before reading this answer, but feeling 'out' of perceived 'in' jokes is a put-off. But maybe that's a salutary experience for a meta-head. –  Benjol Jan 8 '13 at 7:05
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I think we needed a standard gravatar template, like this one for passports:

passport image template

Maybe others didn't have this difficulty, but a lot of the hats didn't "fit" without adjusting my gravatar, and at least for me, the same adjustment didn't work for different hats.

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1  
The hats fit the default gravatar kaleidoscope images. If you use one of those as a template, it should fit. –  luser droog Jan 10 '13 at 1:06
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I think it was an excellent opportunity for certain folks to indulge in trivial but not overtly harmful ego gratification.

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The hats have taken over my life and I take a little too much pride in saying that I was the first person to reach 20 hats on any site and that I am currently #2 on MSO for having the most hats.

I have asked many questions and posted several answers related to Winter Bash and my overall participation on the site has grown from basically never to very frequently.

I hope to stay active on MSO now, more so than on SO even. If I can reach the #1 spot that is muahaha!

  • What have you enjoyed?

The competition, the thrill of collecting them, and the surprise when I wasn't expecting to get one.

  • What would you like to see for next year?

More hats and PERSISTENCE

  • What kept breaking for you but wasn't annoying enough for you to report?

I posted many questions about bugs but I would say The Beard is broken.

  • Did you find all the secret hats?

Nope, The Beard is impossible.

  • Which was your favorite hat and why?

The one I am wearing! It is the only one that looks good with my current Gravatar.

MYHATS

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I enjoyed being surprised by the secret hats that I got (and occasionally saw and wondered about). It added an element of serendipity to the user experience.

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I LOVED IT!

I will be extremely disappointed if we don't do it again next year!

What have you enjoyed?

Community involvement and just the fun of it all. It's awesome to see all of these people go for hats, flaunt their hats, participate in Meta more, and just have a good time.

What would you like to see for next year?

  • More hats!
  • More secret hats!
  • More community involvement! - maybe have the community design a few hats...
  • Per site hats!

What kept breaking for you but wasn't annoying enough for you to report?

Nothing, if it was broken I reported it.

Did you find all the secret hats?

I don't know, did I? :P

Which was your favorite hat and why?

The 2013 hat because, well, it's a new year!

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Hats were awesome. I collected total 22 hats(the most) in my Movies and TV account. I don't know if I found any secret hat though.

EDIT- Okay so taking notes from different users answers, the secret hats I got are:

1) Noob Hat

2) The Abby

3) Cake is not a Lie

4) Gotta catch'em All

5) And I feel fine

What have you enjoyed?

I have enjoyed making my avatar look different using different hats.

What would you like to see for next year?

I would like to see if we can let the hats remain for good from the next year (as I guess this is too late for this year).

What kept breaking for you but wasn't annoying enough for you to report?

Sometimes I was annoyed by some hats covering faces of the avatar too much (like And I Feel Fine).

Did you find all the secret hats?

I don't know if I did!

Which was your favorite hat and why?

The hats I liked much than other were:

1) Yackety Stacks because I could make the community clean!

2) Howdy pardner because I have made good comments!

3) Soup de Jour because it made me feel I have asked a good question!

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1  
@Mistu4u: don't worry about it, all the answers got one. Looks like someone doesn't like hats :( (BTW: you're not wearing one.) –  Mat Jan 2 '13 at 17:30
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One of the things I really liked (as a user, not just as an employee!) was how excited everyone was for it. For the first couple of days, I was answering meta posts at rapid-fire pace. I loved seeing everyone really get into it -- and, as the event matured, seeing more and more peer-to-peer support. I know that this is what Stack Overflow is built on and all, but it's rare that I get to see it in action in real-time like this. Basically: I liked that it seemed to garner some sense of community.

One thing I would change for next year: while I'd love per-site hats, maybe a better way of letting sites opt in/out. Some sites were surprised to have been "left out," though more accurately they had been opted out.

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Note for next time: CW posts look naked without headwear. –  Mat Jan 2 '13 at 17:31
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"One of the things I really liked was how excited everyone was for it. For the first couple of days, I was answering meta posts at rapid-fire pace." Translation: THE REPZ! –  mmyers Jan 2 '13 at 23:34
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Just thank you for these precious hats. And keep it up.

Which was your favorite hat and why?

These are my favorite hats because....

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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A Yuletide Scavenger Hunt: The Tale of the Hat-Seeking Missiles

My summary sentiment about this “Yuletide scavenger hunt” is that the hats were great, because people had a lot of great good fun trying to track them down, or finding new avatars that looked good with this or that hat.

Some hats were a lot harder to come by than you would think. On English.SE, the only site I actively pursued hats, even Monarch By Right was thrice as prevalent as even Brunhilde, which surprised me. Out of our 1,717 hats, we had around a dozen Just Jesting!, 7 Moshi Moshi, and 3 Monarch By Right, but not a single I Do Say and just one Brunhilde.

The funniest phrase to come out of it was when @Robusto coined “hat-seeking missile” to describe a posting that would never have been made but for the pursuit of hats. Unlike reports I’ve read of Certain Other Sites, we at ELU didn’t seem to have a lot of lame “junk” questions asked in the pursuit of hats, one that would have garnered downvotes and closevotes for lameness. I don’t think the small quirks that hat-driven people would sometimes exhibit were all that bad.


What have you enjoyed?

I enjoyed having something new and fun to work towards. When it first premiered, everybody really got in the spirit of things, sometimes even helping each other out with that last vote needed for this or that hat.

The cool thing is that the increased level of participation meant that even the oldguard got into the act, contributing more than they normally would. No disrespect, but people can become jaded after a while, or incur “kindness fatigue”, and this banished that — for a time.

This probably sounds weird, but I also really liked the color that the hats brought to the site. I mean that quite literally. Yes, it is not tasteful to have garish colors, but it is definitely festive, like at a party. Plus the larger versions were really well done, with 3D shading and all.

The aspect of secret hats that you got just out of the blue was fun, too. It’s like suddenly scoring an Archaeologist badge when you weren’t even trying and didn’t know the thing existed in the first place.

In a bit of sweet irony, one of our moderators is named @nohat♦, and he managed to put the lie to his name by earning himself a Constantinopolitan. It was pretty funny to see a hat on nohat.

What would you like to see for next year?

I would like to see more surprise hats.

I would also like to see specially tailored per-site hats. I realize this is a lot of work, and that it does not scale unless somehow each site can develop its own.

What kept breaking for you but wasn't annoying enough for you to report?

I never did get the unicorn to appear, even though I thought I did all the right things, and even tried from several different browsers, just in case it was a browser bug. I had a hunch right from the start that the snow was some sort of video game, and I could push it around or banish it, but I never got it to do anything more than that.

Did you find all the secret hats?

I have no idea: there is no 100%-guaranteed-accurate list, so I do not know what I do not know, so to speak. I managed to get 33 hats on ELU alone, with only one from the standard set missing: the I Do Say hat.

After finding the 15-hat hat, Gotta Catch ’Em All!, I was expecting another at 30 hats, but that never panned out.

At first, people would try all kinds of things to try to uncover an hitherto unknown hats, from editing tag wikis to undeleting things to giving more than one answer to the same question. It made for some semi-odd behavior, but harmless I think.

Which was your favorite hat and why?

My first fave hat was certainly Just Jesting!, because it looked so cool after the borning-looking hats. After that for a long time is was Monarch By Right, just for the work it took to get it. Toward the end I liked Brunhilde, maybe because I was the only one to get it on ELU. I made a point of having a question about Beowulf go into its making, but there was no special hat for appropriateness.

Mostly I liked the hats that actually looked like hats of one sort or another. The only non-hats I like a lot were Spoiler Alert! and Moshi Moshi: their graphics were great. The Cat on the Hat! was pretty amusing, what with people walking around with a kitty sitting on their head.


All of tchrist’s hats

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Liked the event, but as a gamer I belive I am a little... inclined to compulsive collecting. Anyway, it was fun.

To search a bad side... short. Too short. Actually if it lasted 365-eplsilon days it would still be to short. Also, some of the hat seemed a little out of place - I mean, if the badge is called Necromancer, why a samurai hat? a bushido hat should go to the sportmanship badge, to the necromancer give a Skeletor mask... Also, I have the felling that some hats linked to vote/rep are harder to get by on lower traffic "board" (read: SharePoint overflow, 18 mortarboard badges from the start of times and so on..).

Suggestions for next time? site related hats. I really hoped for a Clippy hat on SPOverflow. Also - what about merging hats and badges? Leave badge as now, but add a flavor image like for hat. The whole with a rack page as a bonus, that shows the badges for all sites.

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What have you enjoyed?

Seeing all kinds of users wearing hats. Some surprised me as I took them to be grumpy or too "heavy" to take part but yet they wore hats just like the others! Also enjoyed being notified about new hat I got, I went hat hunting only once for the 2013 one in chat but apart of that didn't even bother to read or memorize all the hat descriptions, so each was a pleasant surprise.

What would you like to see for next year?

Honestly? Hats again. Make new set of hats, maybe unique for each site and keep all the hats awareded this year. Maybe not so fair for newcomers who will be in great disadvantage though.

What kept breaking for you but wasn't annoying enough for you to report?

The "asked X hours ago" and "answered X hours ago" text beside each gravatar moved to the right for users wearing hats while staying in place for those without hat. Not really breaking anything, just minor annoyance which I considered reporting but decided to just move on. :)

Did you find all the secret hats?

Not really, I didn't even try.

Which was your favorite hat and why?

Well, the Bushido hat came as complete surprise and was the most impressive hat. It's just too big to be of real use as it hides the whole picture below. :)

So Long, and Thanks for All the Hats!

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It was a lot of fun (finished #10 on SO, yay!). The only part I liked less was the 5/10/15 questions hats which have encouraged some users (no names) to post pretty useless questions (and for some reason some users who had posted 10 questions in 3 years managed to post 15 in as many days). That generated noise more than fun.

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1  
But wouldn’t those have been downvoted and/or closed and deleted? I managed to garner 120 votes for my 15 questions, so they were not too badly received. But I wouldn’t post a junk question; people would have been merciless, and I would have deserved it. That said, the question-postings ones were the hardest. I only got 33 hats, with the 30-question hat the one I didn’t get amongst the standard set. Trying to think up 15 more upvotable questions was just too hard to do all at once, so unless I’d done a handful daily, it wouldn’t have happened. And didn’t. –  tchrist Jan 5 '13 at 1:08
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I didn't participate much (and whatever hats I collected happened by accident) but I liked it, and it was very well designed and executed. One thing though - some of the hats encouraged "randomly click the vote button twenty times" type behaviour that had caused huge frustration earlier this winter. I'd rather if next year's winter bash dropped those hats that could be gained that way.

Other than that, I'm looking forward to seeing it again in twelve months' time.

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Honestly, after my first hat or two, I just disabled Winter Bash. It just felt too much like a poor imitation of last year's Hat Dash on Arqade. It also felt incredibly out of place on other sites.

Poor Imitation

Hat Dash had hats that were based on tags from recently released games, even adding new hats after the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic a week into Hat Dash. This year's hat dash was generic and not tailored to sites in any way.

Out of Place

Hat Dash felt out of place network-wide because Hat Dash (and collecting lots of hats in general) is a Team Fortress 2 reference and hats were a running gag in Arqade's The Bridge chatroom (due to TF2's popularity among its chatters). Its connection to other sites on the network is non-existent.

Disclaimer: I was the person with the third-highest hat count on Arqade last year.

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2  
See, I never played TF2, and thus never connected HatDash to TF2. So hats seemed rather out of place on Arqade last year (I took it as a rather limited immitation of XBox avatar customization), since I would've expected a gaming contest to involve more RPG-like leveling elements... And SE already has those built-in. Hats as a metaphor for skills/roles/jobs is a fairly old concept though, so they made sense for temporary badges. –  Shog9 Jan 8 '13 at 16:58
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What have you enjoyed?

The addiction get deeper and I started to seek not only points, but also hats. And it's cool to have something new.

What would you like to see for next year?

The beer hat. That couldn't be missing.

What kept breaking for you but wasn't annoying enough for you to report?

I don't know, I haven't noticed anything in particular.

Did you find all the secret hats?

Not yet, but I will. May this cost all my time.

Which was your favorite hat and why?

This one:

enter image description here

I have it on stack overflow, it's just elegant and nice. I got it posting on meta SO.

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What have you enjoyed?

  • Watching our stats change as a direct result of the hat dash
  • Trying to collect as many as I could, obviously
  • Doing my best to figure out how to get the really sekrit hats (blimming Punyon...mutter mutter)
  • Trying to move that pink unicorn to see if something would happen
  • Seeing those I didn't expect to wear hats finally giving in
  • Trying to win on our local leaderboard as well as get Security.SE higher up the rankings (we were ahead of both English and the Arqade for ages!)

What would you like to see for next year?

  • Moar hats, perhaps with other daft names or connections to events
  • Adjustable hats, so they could be worn at an angle or in a different position on the avatar
  • @Polynomial's script built in to the core functionality

What kept breaking for you but wasn't annoying enough for you to report?

  • Nothing

Did you find all the secret hats?

  • Nope - but kept hunting. Still don't know how many there should be!

Which was your favorite hat and why?

  • Le Magritte and the Abby both looked good on my avatar, but I really liked the cowboy hat, once I finally got it today!
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Well, I earned all but 6 of the regular hats across the entire network. I think I earned all but 2 (the Pirate and the Punyon) of the sekrit hats.

What was most surprising - that I won 18 on Web Applications - a site where, despite being a moderator, I'm not very active on the posting side:

enter image description here

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It's now minutes before it goes away, and I'm gonna miss it! When it started, all I wanted was the fez hat, but turns out Le Magritte fits my current avatar just perfectly:

enter image description here

Not to mention Magritte is one of my favorite artists. So to celebrate the end of the hat season, here is one of his greatest paintings:

enter image description here

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My only thought was that a hat for editing/adding tag wikis or similar would have been nice. Something that encourages the community to do some housekeeping is always useful ;)

But other than that, it was fun, are we doing an Easter one too? :)

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Judging from Quantcast, hats were a huge success for Biblical Hermeneutics:

Holiday of 2011 page views of Biblical Hermeneutics.

Holiday of 2012 page views of Biblical Hermeneutics.

Obviously there's more going on here then just hats, since the first graph begins in the Initial Excitement Phase™ of the site and the second shows a stable-to-growing community of people really invested in the site. But from my experience, I made a habit of checking in on the latest head-coverings when there was a lull in the festivities or when the rest of the family had gone to bed. I even took a moment to star a chat message on New Year's Eve.

It was a little hard that some hats were probably out of reach for our community; we don't often get people to their daily rep-cap. But I didn't notice any complaints either. The blow was probably softened by knowing that the whole thing would disappear at the end of the event, so there was no reason to get worked up about it. Speaking of which, these are the only hats I managed to rescue:

Fez Bow tie Extra snazzy A subtle hint about how I got to wear two "hats" at once.

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