I have just seen the hat known as Epic Punyon Beard for the first time. Does anyone have any information (or hints if you don't want to spoil it) on this mysterious hat!?!?

Here are the given (but not so useful) clues:

hat short description hat description

The hat in action:

anna with a beard

UPDATE: Shog9 states that the beard is possible but very difficult to obtain. However based on What order are hats displayed on the leader board?, Aarthi said that they have an internal difficulty that they are ordered by and yet the beard is not placed anywhere near first. This does not add up.

UPDATE 2: The beard is not located in sprite-128.png or sprite-32.png all hats?

UPDATE 3: FYI, the user dmck has the beard.

  • 7
    I thought maybe it was for visiting Jason Punyon's profile but I haven't gotten it. :( – animuson Dec 21 '12 at 0:02
  • 5
    I notice only mods seem to have it? – Mac Dec 21 '12 at 0:07
  • 1
    Perhaps Wikipedia has some hints (ctrl+f aquarius). – irrelephant Dec 21 '12 at 0:12
  • 4
    Jason Punyon: the new Kevin Bacon. – user102937 Dec 21 '12 at 0:13
  • 3
    Seems like it only exists on Meta. – irrelephant Dec 21 '12 at 0:24
  • @irrelephant Maybe but not sure. Meta users have been the first to unlock most of the hats so far. – Austin Henley Dec 21 '12 at 0:42
  • In response to update 2: nope, it's not in the sprite. It's here: cdn.prom.sstatic.net/WinterBash/img/2096626522-128.png. – Mac Dec 21 '12 at 1:16
  • 1
    See comments in meta.stackexchange.com/a/159229/152962 – irrelephant Dec 21 '12 at 1:17
  • 1
    RE Update 2: None of the secret hats are in the sprite sheet. – murgatroid99 Dec 21 '12 at 2:53
  • ahhh... i want this too how to get this ... – NullPoiиteя Dec 21 '12 at 5:44
  • None of the secret hats are listed in the sprite, they all have their own separate image. Otherwise we'd be able to guess too easily, now won't we? – Martijn Pieters Dec 21 '12 at 9:50
  • @Mac: meet Katey HW. Not a mod, no questions, no answers, last (and only) activity: a comment on March 27. – ЯegDwight Dec 21 '12 at 13:14
  • 3
    @ЯegDwight Notice that she works at Stack HQ... – Jack Dec 21 '12 at 14:18
  • 1
    @ЯegDwight - please have a look at my answer. Those are actual quotes that I found around. If the hat is not manually awarded (only dmck and katey-hw have it outside of mods, and Katey seem related to the HQ) then I am pretty sure it has something to do with that site. It referes to the age of aquarios AND Jason. So try to log at some strange hour on that site - midnight.... or 8:08 (time ad which Jason baby was born, it seems). Anyway, it reminds me of the level 17 in the first Diablo – SPArcheon Dec 21 '12 at 14:29
  • 6
    technically, anyone can get this. – Jin Dec 21 '12 at 16:43

14 Answers 14


Yeah, I don't know what you're talking about with this beard...

  • 1
    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm – Rory Alsop Dec 21 '12 at 10:43
  • Seems it is NOT the konami code. Unless I tried it on the wrong page. Still waiting for something to appear on that site. Maybe an unicorn flying in the snow? – SPArcheon Dec 21 '12 at 11:38
  • 2
    It doesn't seem to fly - it just stands there, smugly – Rory Alsop Dec 21 '12 at 12:45
  • Hey! Congratulations! – Kit Z. Fox Dec 21 '12 at 13:05
  • Before I get distracted again by that hat. Congrats for the new born. ^_^ – SPArcheon Dec 21 '12 at 15:26
  • Congratulations! It is truly a joyous occasion! – Kevin M Dec 25 '12 at 4:25
  • @RoryAlsop. ^_^' ... I should have said "an unicorn flying, drawn by the snow" ghgh – SPArcheon Jan 2 '13 at 14:12

After spending too much time looking into this riddle I still don't know how to get the hat.

But it looks like a tribute to Jason Punyon, a Stack Exchange developer on the Careers 2.0 team. I'm guessing he was growing his hair until a very special event.

Here is a before photo of Jason:


And here is an after:


Congrats Jason!

  • He looks like one of the classic computer scientist. – Austin Henley Dec 21 '12 at 2:37
  • Thanks dmck <fifteen> – Jason Punyon Dec 21 '12 at 3:22
  • 19
    You might see a special something somewhere... – Jason Punyon Dec 21 '12 at 4:00
  • @JasonPunyon Thank you!! – dmck Dec 21 '12 at 4:02
  • One might actually end up ripping out their hair out of frustration while figuring out this riddle. In unrelated news, I'm due for a haircut today, or entry into the Shaggy look alike contest. – Tim Post Dec 21 '12 at 6:10
  • @JasonPunyon Congrats! – irrelephant Dec 21 '12 at 6:18
  • @JasonPunyon, congrats with the little human. And try to enjoy every moment, they grow up real quick losing cuteness each year... ;-). – Toon Krijthe Dec 21 '12 at 7:00
  • We have a time then! Now the question is: How can I see the time local time from the winter bash site? – SPArcheon Dec 21 '12 at 11:39
  • @JasonPunyon I'm going to be blunt about this: can I have a beard? Please? Pretty please? – Dynamic Dec 22 '12 at 14:56

Searching for that hat may prove... frustrating, so:

Does everyone know that Jason Punyon had an adorable baby?

babby! That's not really an answer to the question, but it's tangentially related to why the hat exists. Plus, she's cute.

  • 5
    dmck beat you to it, but +1 for babby photo. :) – Adam Lear Dec 21 '12 at 3:52
  • 4
    she's cute, and wearing a hat (!) ... but no beard?? – Erics Dec 21 '12 at 15:18
  • How adorable! :3 – Amicable Dec 29 '12 at 3:34
  • Now, she is a cute wee thing! Congrats @Jason – Rory Alsop Jan 2 '13 at 14:28

I certainly don't see any beards.

You should check your eyeballs for hair.


Looking at the users that already have this hairy extention, I see two groups:

  • Moderators and SE people
  • Other users

There are a lot of beards on the first group, and I have seen only one in the later group. And he has concratulated Jason Punyon with his recent offspring in a post. I assume the first group was able to congratulate using other means of communication.

The comments:

  • Thanks dmck – Jason Punyon♦
  • You might see a special something somewhere... – Jason Punyon♦

seem to support this view.

People have congratulated him in a comment but that does not triggered a beard. Maybe is it the first time that counts, but without experiment we never know so in order to test this theory:

Congrats Jason!

I can tell you that it changes your life in a way you can't imagine before.

  • And I'd like to congratulate you for offering the most cynical congratulations I've ever seen. ;) – mmyers Dec 21 '12 at 14:15
  • 5
    Cynical? Kids do change your life. – Toon Krijthe Dec 21 '12 at 14:20

Beard - what beard? I don't know what you're talking about with this beard...


Beard - what beard? I'm not sure what you're talking about...


My guess: The developers of the Winter Bash assigned it to themselves. It is probably not awardable to regular users or user moderators.


Relevant? Who Knows?

  • 9
    There is a way to earn this hat - it's just really really difficult. – Geoff Dalgas Dec 21 '12 at 0:30
  • 7
    @GeoffDalgas Like as difficult as being elected to be a mod? – Austin Henley Dec 21 '12 at 0:37
  • 3
    Ok, not quite that difficult. – Shog9 Dec 21 '12 at 0:40
  • Ok well now I need to find this hat! – dmck Dec 21 '12 at 0:43
  • @Shog9 May I please have the beard, pretty please? :) – Austin Henley Dec 21 '12 at 0:45
  • Perhaps more relevant would be: When the moon is in the seventh house / and jupiter aligns with mars / The peace will guide the planets / and love will steer the stars – irrelephant Dec 21 '12 at 2:00
  • @irrelephant I thought to so too ... "but Astrologist Neil Spencer denounced the lyrics as "astrological gibberish" via en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Aquarius – dmck Dec 21 '12 at 2:06
  • @irrelephant, I thought so too, and I actually looked further into the details than that wikipedia article. It seems that the only time in december that the moon was in the seventh house was around the 8th -- which doesn't seem to be related to anything. Also, not sure how to check mars/jupiter alignments, but it wouldn't surprise me if there isn't a related one right now either. – Ben Lee Dec 28 '12 at 6:40
  • @BenLee Hmm, looking back, it probably has nothing to do with anything in this answer + comments. – irrelephant Dec 28 '12 at 7:07

It's not just for mods, because I'm a moderator and I don't have a beard. I'm not sure if foxes can grow beards though.

But maybe if I shave off all my fur...brb.

The fur shaving thing doesn't seem to work. Perhaps if we avert an apocalypse?

Or maybe pictures of cute children?

"Ellis and Finnegan"

  • Maybe MSO moderators? SE employees? – irrelephant Dec 21 '12 at 13:35
  • 2
    @irrelephant - it's SE employees for the most (if not exclusive) part. – ChrisF Dec 21 '12 at 14:20
  • Phew, I was wondering if I was left out, after seeings so many "the mods have this beard" answers. – Keen Dec 21 '12 at 17:20
  • 3
    I can't believe I haven't gotten an ounce of love for my cute children. – Kit Z. Fox Dec 21 '12 at 17:23
  • +1 for the picture then :-) – The Unhandled Exception Dec 21 '12 at 17:51
  • @KitFox: Those the foxlets? Cute :) – Manishearth Dec 21 '12 at 22:12

My guess is that it is to celebrate bearded little ones.


enter image description here

Actually... I think it is a really creative congratulations to Jason. Congrats!


This is not a hat you are looking for. handwave

  • 2
    Shouldn't that be: "This is not the hat you are looking for?" – Toon Krijthe Dec 21 '12 at 10:05

The three theories are:

  • You must have had something to do with the beardy Jason in the past. This should be fake, since it was him to follow my problems with the Careers site (which reminds me that I could use the vacation to fill that profile — never had time).
  • You must go to see the Hobbit movie, all while dressed like a dwarf. Probably you also need a mod to come with you to certify that, or I would already have it.
  • That site hides something. Jin said there is an easter egg, and then we have "You might see a special something somewhere". Look at the site and search for a star in the sky. At a precise time. Also remember that "It is not a hat you are looking for".

There is one last theory. Beards will just grow overnight. As someone said "Beard — what beard? I don't know what you're talking about with this beard."

  • Seems to be something related to midnight... – SPArcheon Dec 21 '12 at 12:38

It seems that most diamond moderators have this hat on Meta. Many, but not all, are wearing it.

Some don't (I think community-elected moderators):
- https://meta.stackoverflow.com/users/50049/tiny-tim-post is a moderator, but apparently doesn't have the hat.
- https://meta.stackoverflow.com/users/137537/boltclocks-a-unicorn

Jon Skeet does not have this hat, either here or on SO main.

  • 13
    Jeff is... special. – Shog9 Dec 21 '12 at 0:36
  • random does not have the beard either. – Austin Henley Dec 21 '12 at 1:12
  • 5
    There are diamonds and then there are diamonds. I don't think the first set has this "hat". – Jon Ericson Dec 21 '12 at 1:13
  • 3
    @JonEricson Indeed, some diamonds are just ... diamondier than others. – Adam Lear Dec 21 '12 at 2:04
  • 4
    Naw, I doubt they'd make an employee only badge. Clearly, we're just not moderating hard enough. – Tim Post Dec 21 '12 at 2:06
  • @TinyTimPost how to get this beard hat .... i want this too – NullPoiиteя Dec 21 '12 at 5:43
  • @TinyTim I think maybe we need to suspend a certain number of users... – Kit Z. Fox Dec 21 '12 at 13:48
  • @KitFox That's what I thought until dmck got it. – Tim Post Dec 21 '12 at 13:52
  • 6
    If Jon Skeet doesn't have it, I'm still not convinced it exists. The beards on everyone on this page... it's a typo. – DanM7 Dec 21 '12 at 18:01

Kinda like we all forward the mail to keep msn and facebook free, I'm congratulating Jason just in case.

That was my official congratulation to Jason.

Consider yourself congratulated.

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