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Yeah, yeah, I know — the fact that any hat can now be worn on any site is by design:

"Hats are transferrable: What? No, you can't sell them to each other. Hats are transferrable across sites! You read that correctly: this year, if you earn a hat on any site, you can wear it on any participating Stack Exchange site. This was one of our most asked-for feature requests after last year’s event, and it’s a great way for everyone to highlight their achievements on their favorite site across the network."

So I won't report that as a bug. Won't stop me from griping about it, though. ;-)

The thing is, the criteria for earning hats are still site-specific, and so is much of the prestige attached to them. Don't get me wrong, I like my Old Hat a lot, but it just seems somehow wrong to me that earning it on, say, space.SE (where I've never even done anything, except for a few upvotes and one comment) entitles me to wear it on any SE network site, including the original trilogy. It just seems to me that having that hat on an established site ought to be something rare and impressive — right now, it just says "oh, another user who likes to browse the hot questions list".

In fact, I'm thinking of making a voluntary pledge not to wear any hats on sites I haven't earned them on. Yeah, I know, it's not like anyone else will notice or care — but I will, and it just feels like cheating otherwise.

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    Obligatory "you're taking this waaaay too seriously" comment. Dec 16, 2013 at 14:15
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    @JosephQuinsey: Thank you. Your +1 helped me earn a nice hat to wear here on meta. :) Dec 16, 2013 at 21:51

1 Answer 1

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Stack Exchange is a network of high quality question and answer sites, and we're running Winter Bash for folks to have some fun across the network at the end of another great year.

While hats might entice specific positive behaviors that we want, they aren't meant to be long standing testaments to the contributions that unlocked them. They're designed to be funny things you can position on your avatar and have a little fun with, until they go back in the box for another year early in January.

If you unlock a hat, have fun displaying it - don't read too much into their value. While some of them are a bit of an accomplishment, you might be looking at them a little too much like badges. This is just something we're doing for the users that hang around and participate during this time of the year, so everyone can have a little more fun doing so. That's it - nothing more :) Everyone gets a few easy hats so that everyone has a few to play with right from the start.

Besides, I'd be really mad if I unlocked a doubly secret hat and couldn't wear it everywhere. I'm just sayin'.

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    I suppose you do have a point. I think I was just disappointed that some hats that I thought were rare and awesome are actually not so awesome after all. Dec 16, 2013 at 14:41
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    They're not any less awesome, they're just not permanent; just have fun with them while they last and enjoy the challenges of unlocking them. Did I mention secret hats are way more cooler this year?
    – user50049
    Dec 16, 2013 at 14:43
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    Not really what I meant, that permanence thing, though. I'm just saying that, when I first saw someone wearing the Old Hat on SO, I was like "Whoa, who's that guy?!" Finding out that they hadn't actually earned it on SO was kind of a letdown. Dec 16, 2013 at 14:45

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