While yodeling to myself quietly in our warehouse today, a pallet full of mugs came crashing down on my head, and gave me a concussion idea. First, it's very unlucky to go yodeling around on a skate board in a dark warehouse, and second, we could really use a short creative writing contest.

Fortunately, we didn't make any hard hats this year, so my head injury is your gain.

The Objective

Write a short, humorous and fictional story about using a Stack Exchange site that mentions:

  • At least two of the current Winter Bash hats, by exact name (secret hats that have shown up on at least one profile are okay too).
  • At least one of the current Winter Bash hat criteria
  • At least one Stack Exchange site that is in public beta or beyond
  • Tim Post's head (has to be only his head), yodeling, or both

What do I get?

Authors of the top three entries will receive:

  • Stack Overflow Mug
  • Stack Exchange Nalgene Water Bottle
  • Stack Overflow T-shirt
  • Assorted stickers and secret surprises

Two runners-up will receive:

  • Stack Overflow T-shirt
  • Assorted stickers and secret surprises

How do I win?

Have the highest, second highest or third highest up-vote count on your entry. Down votes do not affect scoring. Be original & creative, and be funny.

What are the rules?

  • Employees are welcome to participate, but entries by employees will not be counted. Ya'll get this stuff by walking upstairs and grabbing it or asking me to send it to you.
  • Limit two entries per user
  • Entries must not exceed 1024 characters (not including markdown formatting characters) to be eligible.
  • Void where prohibited, or if management shuts it down
  • Entries must be received by 20:00 UTC on Friday, December 20, 2013.
  • In case of a tie for any prize, all entries of the same score will be awarded the prize.

These only come around once a year, so make it count :) Good luck!


Winning entries:

  • Esoteric Screen Name (87) (Best use of my head, ever, seriously.)
  • Generic Holiday Name (25)
  • Retailcoder (22)


  • Fredley (15)
  • rlemon (13)

Honorable mention (will get a T-shirt):

  • qwertynl (12)

Thank you to all that participated, and made this contest fun! There will be one more before the end of Winter Bash, and some mini contests in chat to look forward to. I will be contacting the winners early next week to get your size, shipping info and preferences.

Stay tuned, and thanks again!

  • 2
    @rene Let's keep this one to English, but I promise to look into running something like this on the new Portuguese site with Gabe's help (and blessing).
    – user50049
    Dec 18, 2013 at 18:35
  • @TinyTim Sorry, I meant do winners get a new secret hat too?
    – ɥʇǝS
    Dec 18, 2013 at 18:57
  • 3
    At least it wasn't mercury-tainted cigarettes again. Dec 18, 2013 at 19:05
  • 7
    Can I just post a bunch of funny imaeg instead? I mean, really funny. Good stuff.
    – user1228
    Dec 18, 2013 at 19:05
  • @Won't You can make an illustrated story, sure, but there's got to be an actual story that meets the criteria there for it to be considered.
    – user50049
    Dec 18, 2013 at 19:17
  • @TinyTim: Hmmm, story in image format... Mulling.
    – user1228
    Dec 18, 2013 at 19:19
  • 2
    1024 chars including Markdown syntax?
    – fredley
    Dec 18, 2013 at 19:22
  • 1
    @Seth I can not confirm or deny the triggering of a secret hat for the winners of this contest.
    – user50049
    Dec 18, 2013 at 19:23
  • @fredley Excluding markdown, rendered formatted text is considered. I'll edit for clarity, thanks.
    – user50049
    Dec 18, 2013 at 19:23
  • 1
    @TinyTim Are we supposed to embolden all of our references?
    – qwertynl
    Dec 18, 2013 at 19:34
  • 1
    @JohnnyBones Aviation is not in PUBLIC beta. Doesn't count :-P
    – qwertynl
    Dec 18, 2013 at 19:55
  • 1
    "all entries of the same score will be awarded the prize." So if there is a tie, all posts with a score of 1 will win the prize? :]
    – user206222
    Dec 18, 2013 at 20:13
  • 1
    Once a year? But we had those prizes a month ago... not that I complain though. ;) Dec 18, 2013 at 20:28
  • 5
    I don't understand. Why did a pallet full of mugs yodel to yourself? Dangling modifier is dangling. No wonder it came crashing down.
    – ЯegDwight
    Dec 18, 2013 at 20:44
  • 4
    Just to avoid disappointment, does your offer also work for ... foreigners? (i.e., people you have to pay international postage for)
    – Benjol
    Dec 19, 2013 at 5:37

46 Answers 46


A few weeks had passed since the great opening.

Metaville is no exception as a community and, as in all communities, everybody had to take a look; the regulars, the foreigners and the newcomers. This place was magnificent and for the first time of year, all the inhabitants forgot their worries about the endless queue of tasks that they could not seem to get rid of and they all enjoyed talking about this great new shop that opened it's doors. Some were trying to peek in the back store to see what merchandise was secretly kept in stock. All buyers were wearing proudly their new acquisitions by placing them on various position so it fits best their portrait.

The Metaville hat store had finally opened it's doors and you could feel the joy that it brought to all it's customers.

I remember seeing the community's elder Mr.Skeet proudly wearing a hat that made me think of Chuck Yeager. I even saw the village's wizard putting a transformers mask on his child's face. Aww.. I wish this would never stop.


On this day did a mother reserved and most prim,
Worried about her son, tell herself “Do the Swim!”
She registered on Parenting,
And asked about his yodeling.
Is it kosher? Upvoted but closed. L'chaim!


Winter is coming
Others Reanimated
A head rolls free, Tim?

Game of Thrones, oh no!
Close or delete, pass judgement
It's Stack Overflow

  • 2
    – qwertynl
    Dec 18, 2013 at 21:19
  • Could you explain why? It's funny to me, but I'm strange like that... Dec 18, 2013 at 21:21
  • Read the objective.
    – qwertynl
    Dec 18, 2013 at 21:23
  • Now I've done that can you explain what this misses? Dec 18, 2013 at 21:24
  • I am not sure... now I am just confusing myself...
    – qwertynl
    Dec 18, 2013 at 21:25
  • :-), fairly sure I got everything, save funny to some people, but I've been warped by the things I mention... Dec 18, 2013 at 21:28
  • 1
    ****GHOOOOST EDIT****
    – qwertynl
    Dec 18, 2013 at 21:30

On a cold exception throwing Christmas Eve on mSO Shog9 said to himslef, "a time for finding yourself a year older, and not a hat richer". One debugger over sat balpha, busily making more hats for users.

That night Shog9 was visited by his Sock Puppet who had been banned and wanted to save Shog9 from the same fate, "3 languages will visit you tonight so that you may answer your own question", it said.

He later awakens to Java, the Ghost of Christmas Past, who shows him the memory leaks they used to share, and then all the hats of his past such as Monarch by Right.

He then reflects to C#, the Ghost of Christmas Present, who shows Tiny Tim yodeling while being hit in the head with a mug, and balpha working hard to make everyone's hats perfect.

Mathing a pattern, F#, the Ghost of Christmas Yet, shows a gravatar with no hat. Shog9 realizes it is his gravatar! Suddenly he finds himself back at his debugger.

Overwhelmed by the chance to earn more hats, he immediately starts a bounty and posts on Christmas. Ho Ho Ho!

  • So I take it the downvoter didn't like my Christmas Carol reference?
    – Travis J
    Dec 18, 2013 at 21:50

I have a dog, his name is Chuck. He runs so fast that I often call him Chuck Yeager.
We run together, eat together, answer Stack Overflow questions together... he is a great programmer.

One day in early December he sits on my lap, helping me hunt down a really nasty bug.
All of a sudden my dear Chuck disappears into thin air, leaving behind even his precious mug.

I called my friend Mulder who confirmed to me, "yes your dog was abducted and is now on my shoulder".

Packing my things I raced to Nevada, just to be told "dude we are sorry, but Chuck died of cold".

Not giving up I hired a Necromancer, and for meager $1,000,000 he Reanimated my Chuck back to life. Oh then Tim Post's head came floating into view, then boomed: "I know what you did on December 5th!"

"Sorry I downvoted you oh Tim, please don't take my Chuck again!"

The head poofed away in a pink smoke, Chuck and I got back home in the speed of a rocket.
Sitting together again we finally solved the bug: as always, it was just a missing curly bracket.


One dark night, the night that Hats were turned on, a user was poking around the dev.so site. "A hole!" he cried, his smile quite broad, "I got in! I can see they post crap!" He was right - the devs do post crap to test stuff.

He poked around the site, looking at users. He found Tim Post, with his head as an avatar. In the recent questions, the user could see plainly that Tim was creative with titles. "Asdfjkspammydespam!" sang one. "This better work" cried another.

The user tracked down Oded in the Tavern, and whispered quite softly, "I got in to the dev site!" Oded replied, code at the ready, "I see your point! How? We did lock it up quite nicely!" I <censored>, and it let me in. I even did 5 reviews! Quick, fix the bug before others find the way in!

Oded fixed the bug, but the user still had cookies. The cookies let him in, and Oded couldn't kick him back out. "Clear your cookies," said the almighty dev, "or else I shall have to destroy you, like we do on Stack Overflow!" "Nay," said the user, for he wanted to know how it felt to be destroyed. "Fine, then!" said the dev, pushing the button that caused the user to go poof!

The user is no longer there, and stays away to this day. He stays in the public sites, with no sock puppets to see.

  • I'm afraid I don't see where this meets the questions specifications.. You're missing a hat or two.
    – ɥʇǝS
    Dec 19, 2013 at 5:13
  • @Seth "I See Your Point" and "Sock Puppet".
    – Geobits
    Dec 20, 2013 at 1:04

The Timawock

Twas brillig, and the slithy downvotes
  Did flow and gimble the question:
All mimsy were the OP's,
  mome and frumious, was uffish the OP.

Beware the Timawock, my son!
  The post locks that bite, the votes that close!
Beware the Flagflag bird, and shun
  The frumious OP!

He took his comment reply in hand:
  Long time the MSO foe he sought
So rested he by the whiffling reply,
  And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
  The Timawock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through to snicker-snack,
  And burbled as it edit a community wiki post!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
  With Great Power slithy replies did came!
Oh the Horror, He left it dead,
  and with Tim's head, he went yodelling back.

And, has thou slain the Timawock?
  Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
  He chortled in his joy.

For those of you completely bewildered, it's from the poem "Jabberwocky".

Translated words:

Timawock = Jabberwock
Jabberwock = Large winged chimera with the body of a dragon, a whiskered, fish-like head, insectile antennae and a pair of talon-like hands on both its arms and its wings, which may also serve as forelegs when it walked on the ground
(No offence intended Tim..)

Brillig = Evening
Slithy = Smooth/active
Gimble = To bore holes
Mimsy = Miserable
Mome = Serious
Frumious = Combination of fuming and furious
Uffish = A state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner is ruffish, and the temper huffish
Flagflag bird = Jubjub bird = Dangerous animal
Whiffling = Variable/evasive
Snicker-snack = To fight with knife
Burbled = Confused
Beamish = Bright
Frabjous = Combination of fabulous and joyous - wonderful

  • Great idea, but execution could use some work (the meter is all off from the original, you should have used jquery).
    – jmac
    Dec 19, 2013 at 6:22
  • @jmac what could I have used jquery for?
    – James
    Dec 19, 2013 at 12:53
  • 1
    the real question is what COULDN'T you have used jquery for!
    – jmac
    Dec 19, 2013 at 13:50
  • Maybe it is for someone who uses jquery... I sincerely do not know what you are suggesting. What I wrote was just some fun, written in 15 mins at about 2am. And is just a take on the original poem which itself is a fantasy poem, full of made up words and nonsense gibberish. Not sure better "accuracy" or "execution" is something that can be done with it.
    – James
    Dec 19, 2013 at 13:53
  • Sorry, that was probably a bit obtuse for non-regular meta users. See the Many Memes of Meta to understand the jquery comment. (no offense intended, I really love the poem, I just wanted a bit more, perhaps I set my expectations too high?)
    – jmac
    Dec 19, 2013 at 14:27

It was a bright cold day in December, and the review count read thirteen. Winston, ears tucked into his old hat to escape the cursed wind, swiftly flagged five of them to unlock the link to Stack Overflow. As he did, he could not suppress one recurring thought; winter is coming.

At the top of the page a bright banner, too wide for most screens, had been set to appear. It depicted simply an enormous head, more than 2000 pixels wide: the head of a man in his late thirties, with a crooked smile and a boater cocked jauntily on his brow. Winston made for the suggested edits. It was no use trying the close votes. Even at the best of times it was broken, and at present growing rapidly. It was an effect of the ongoing Winter Bash. The queue was three clicks away, and Winston went slowly, knuckles cracking twice along the way. On each page, at the top of the screen, the banner with the enormous head gazed. It was one of those images where the eyes seem to glitter. TIM POST IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.

  • Adapted from 1984, 1024 characters.
    – Geobits
    Dec 19, 2013 at 17:45

Gilligan's Question

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a
That started from this great idea
He typed it with some zest.

The question was a bit obtuse,
Two downvotes and close votes.
Five users flagged the question right then
Three more close votes. Three more close votes.

The comments started getting rough,
The OP’s ego was tossed,
If not for the courage of the editors
The question would be lost, the question would be lost.

The question was reviewed in a queue of this intrepid little site
By Tim Post’s Head,
Bill the Lizard too,
Mr. Peanut Monopoly McDuck and Shog9,
A Sock Puppet,
The Marauder and Anna Lear,
Here on MetaStackOverflow.


Ode to Bacon Stack Overflow

A low-rep meta user ate some bad bacon

and that trichinosis sure had him shakin'

but he still made a post

so give him a toast

'cause after bad bacon was swallowed

the rules were all followed.

Now let those who are curious

enjoy an answer that's spurious

though they may need a hint, or a jsfiddle

for his lame holiday code riddle.

So stare for a bit and you may see what I mean

that perhaps this post is more than it seems.

Indeed it's true, a coder's delight

As they could verify, my source is right.

Tho if no one can get it,

Then it may need an edit!

  • Did.. you read the question?
    – ɥʇǝS
    Dec 19, 2013 at 5:11
  • Yes. Look harder, you'll see it! Dec 19, 2013 at 9:01
  • :/ why downvote? I guess u didn't find how I followed the rules! Dec 19, 2013 at 21:08
  • I didn't downvote, but maybe you should clarify your answer 'cause if so many people can't get it that's bad.
    – ɥʇǝS
    Dec 19, 2013 at 21:24
  • @Seth bah it's fine. Bad riddle I suppose (or maybe really good!). Tho I guess a small hint would help (added). Perhaps one person will get it! If they do, let me know. Dec 19, 2013 at 23:41
  • I think it's a nice rhythm, but doesn't belong in this particular contest. Lasts years would have been perfect though
    – ɥʇǝS
    Dec 20, 2013 at 1:51
  • @Seth well it's a short, humorous(slightly), fictional story. I didn't really eat bad bacon. I just had regular bacon. So I think it fits. Dec 20, 2013 at 1:59

I walked out onto the street, my head shaking. I couldn't believe her question. It was bad enough that of all the dark corners of the internet she could have wandered into, she had to log on to StackOverflow; the question, though, the question was just too much.

Then, when she answered her own question, and the Sock Puppet appeared on her head, my despair was complete. Tim Post yodelling outside my window couldn't make it any worse. My shame was posted for all to see, and I could not show my avatar in Stack Overflow any longer.

I knew answering that question with was lazy, when it could be done with pure . I never thought it would come back to haunt me like this...


So there I was, playing Poker with Tim Post's yodeling Sock Puppet head. The yodeling kept pissing me off, yet I was still able to pull off a Full House to his king high, ending the game and allowing me to Win a Bounty of $1000 cash. He got up, threw all the cards in the air and, like a Marauder, tried to attack me. I grabbed his little sock puppet head, and told him that if he doesn't stop attacking me every time I beat his high hand, that I would put his head in a Blender. He told me that it wouldn't work because Physics state that sock puppet heads cannot be blended, and I told him that that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Needless to say, he disagreed with me, and assured me that his thinking is sound but a little muddled since Winter is Coming. Perhaps I have Passed Judgment a little too quickly? I don't think so. He's just a sock puppet head. They're all Skeptics. After much R-E-S-P-E-C-T-ful dispute, we both eventually agreed to calm down, stop playing cards for a while, and just sit down and watch Home Improvement.


Hello, world! A hat, at that.
The question will be asked! (A question that must never, ever be answered. 1)

As poor Tim Post scratched his head,
A Stack Overflow notification stared at him in red.

His question was closed, with one comment left:
"Answer your own question." So he replied with deft.

Why did you close this, five of you fools!
Why are you making up your own crazy rules?

The last to close the question sent a few thugs,
and on Tim's poor head, fell a pallet of mugs.


Alice was dusting the fireplace when a mug-shaped ornament fell on her head and knocked her out. As she came to, a white rabbit dashed past, muttering: “I'm late! I need to deliver this message to Tim Post!” The rabbit dropped a piece of paper as he ran out. Alice read the paper:


“Odder and odder”, she thought. “What does it mean?” She decided to ask on Cryptography Stack Exchange. “I hope my question shan't remain unseen for a week, for I have to go to school.”


The Milliner (for Alice had learned that he was such) and the Dormouse, who were Alice's good friends, objected: “Please, Your Highness, do not blame the messenger!”

The Duchess would not get off her high horse. “D-I-S-R-E-S-P-E-C-T! HEADS MUST ROLL! OFF WITH TIM POST'S HEAD!”

The Duchess reached across the site and started shaking Alice. “Alice? Are you all right?”, a friendlier voice said.


Once upon a time, Robocop said "Hello, World!"

Tim Post's head yodelled "Robotics!".

Mr. Binx said "this is a secret hat".

They all lived happily ever after.


For sale: old hat, never worn


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