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 StaffMod
    Dec 21, 2012 at 0:02
  • 5
    I notice only mods seem to have it?
    – Mac
    Dec 21, 2012 at 0:07
  • 1
    Perhaps Wikipedia has some hints (ctrl+f aquarius). Dec 21, 2012 at 0:12
  • 4
    Jason Punyon: the new Kevin Bacon.
    – user102937
    Dec 21, 2012 at 0:13
  • 3
    Seems like it only exists on Meta. Dec 21, 2012 at 0:24
  • @irrelephant Maybe but not sure. Meta users have been the first to unlock most of the hats so far. Dec 21, 2012 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, 2012 at 1:16
  • 1
    See comments in meta.stackexchange.com/a/159229/152962 Dec 21, 2012 at 1:17
  • 1
    RE Update 2: None of the secret hats are in the sprite sheet. Dec 21, 2012 at 2:53
  • 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? Dec 21, 2012 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, 2012 at 13:14
  • 3
    @ЯegDwight Notice that she works at Stack HQ...
    – Jack
    Dec 21, 2012 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, 2012 at 14:29
  • The fact that it isn't in the regular spritelist makes me think that it's something to do being manually awarded. I oughta go waste my time and brute force the remaining hats
    – jcolebrand
    Dec 21, 2012 at 16:11
  • 6
    technically, anyone can get this.
    – Jin
    Dec 21, 2012 at 16:43

14 Answers 14


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

  • 1
    – Rory Alsop
    Dec 21, 2012 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, 2012 at 11:38
  • 2
    It doesn't seem to fly - it just stands there, smugly
    – Rory Alsop
    Dec 21, 2012 at 12:45
  • Hey! Congratulations!
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Dec 21, 2012 at 13:05
  • Before I get distracted again by that hat. Congrats for the new born. ^_^
    – SPArcheon
    Dec 21, 2012 at 15:26
  • Congratulations! It is truly a joyous occasion!
    – Kevin M
    Dec 25, 2012 at 4:25
  • @RoryAlsop. ^_^' ... I should have said "an unicorn flying, drawn by the snow" ghgh
    – SPArcheon
    Jan 2, 2013 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. Dec 21, 2012 at 2:37
  • Thanks dmck <fifteen> Dec 21, 2012 at 3:22
  • 19
    You might see a special something somewhere... Dec 21, 2012 at 4:00
  • @JasonPunyon Thank you!!
    – dmck
    Dec 21, 2012 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.
    – user50049
    Dec 21, 2012 at 6:10
  • @JasonPunyon Congrats! Dec 21, 2012 at 6:18
  • @JasonPunyon, congrats with the little human. And try to enjoy every moment, they grow up real quick losing cuteness each year... ;-). Dec 21, 2012 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, 2012 at 11:39
  • @JasonPunyon I'm going to be blunt about this: can I have a beard? Please? Pretty please?
    – Dynamic
    Dec 22, 2012 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 StaffMod
    Dec 21, 2012 at 3:52
  • 4
    she's cute, and wearing a hat (!) ... but no beard??
    – Erics
    Dec 21, 2012 at 15:18
  • How adorable! :3
    – Amicable
    Dec 29, 2012 at 3:34
  • Now, she is a cute wee thing! Congrats @Jason
    – Rory Alsop
    Jan 2, 2013 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, 2012 at 14:15
  • 5
    Cynical? Kids do change your life. Dec 21, 2012 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. Dec 21, 2012 at 0:30
  • 7
    @GeoffDalgas Like as difficult as being elected to be a mod? Dec 21, 2012 at 0:37
  • 3
    Ok, not quite that difficult.
    – Shog9
    Dec 21, 2012 at 0:40
  • Ok well now I need to find this hat!
    – dmck
    Dec 21, 2012 at 0:43
  • @Shog9 May I please have the beard, pretty please? :) Dec 21, 2012 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 Dec 21, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2012 at 6:40
  • @BenLee Hmm, looking back, it probably has nothing to do with anything in this answer + comments. Dec 28, 2012 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? Dec 21, 2012 at 13:35
  • 2
    @irrelephant - it's SE employees for the most (if not exclusive) part.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Dec 21, 2012 at 14:20
  • Phew, I was wondering if I was left out, after seeings so many "the mods have this beard" answers.
    – user158781
    Dec 21, 2012 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, 2012 at 17:23
  • +1 for the picture then :-) Dec 21, 2012 at 17:51
  • @KitFox: Those the foxlets? Cute :) Dec 21, 2012 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?" Dec 21, 2012 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."


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, 2012 at 0:36
  • random does not have the beard either. Dec 21, 2012 at 1:12
  • 5
    There are diamonds and then there are diamonds. I don't think the first set has this "hat". Dec 21, 2012 at 1:13
  • 3
    @JonEricson Indeed, some diamonds are just ... diamondier than others.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Dec 21, 2012 at 2:04
  • 4
    Naw, I doubt they'd make an employee only badge. Clearly, we're just not moderating hard enough.
    – user50049
    Dec 21, 2012 at 2:06
  • @TinyTimPost how to get this beard hat .... i want this too Dec 21, 2012 at 5:43
  • @TinyTim I think maybe we need to suspend a certain number of users...
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Dec 21, 2012 at 13:48
  • @KitFox That's what I thought until dmck got it.
    – user50049
    Dec 21, 2012 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, 2012 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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