I happened to notice that some user has a considerable number of hats, most of them earned on SO (where he joined 11 days ago). He seems to be actively harvesting them (see here for e.g.), which I guess is legitimate but looks a bit odd when done on sites where he never even posted anything like MSO, so it made me check.

What I really don't get here, is how can someone earn the R-E-S-P-E-C-T hat on SO (reaching daily cap) without even having his total rep reach 200 on that site?

Edit: come to think of it - how can someone have the Hi Ho Silver hat without any silver badge

Is someone gaming the system or are the demands getting lax as the end draws near?

  • 1
    They also have the archaeologist hat for earning revival but they don't have that badge.
    – Taryn
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 16:17
  • @bluefeet: interesting; so the badge is gone but the hat is there? That is harder to achieve; the badge would have to be manually revoked. Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 16:18
  • there is definitely something weird going on with this users' hats
    – Flyk
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 16:18
  • @MartijnPieters yes and that is making my head hurt.
    – Taryn
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 16:18
  • They also have Do the Swim but no reviews! And Florence Nightingale but no edits on SO.
    – Taryn
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 16:19
  • @bluefeet: This is making my hats hurt, even.. Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 16:19
  • @MartijnPieters If they just joined SO, then how do they have the Ghost of Winterbash Past?
    – Taryn
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 16:20
  • @bluefeet: That hat only requires a Necromancer badge; which the user doesn't have... Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 16:21
  • @MartijnPieters I'm beginning to think the hats are broken for this user.
    – Taryn
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 16:22
  • 1
    @bluefeet: It could perhaps be an account merge? Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 16:25
  • @MartijnPieters, you mean he had more accounts? He has dozens now, most with nothing but assoc. bonus
    – Leeor
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 16:28
  • @Leeor: A sockpuppet on SO now merged. But that's something for the devs to look into. Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 16:30
  • @MartijnPieters Possibly, this is definitely suspicious.
    – Taryn
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 16:31
  • Tag to the question, it has more hats than me and less reputation :( Like the Winter Bash page says you'll discover hats and other items hidden behind certain actions :) Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 17:29

2 Answers 2


That account had a bunch of posts that, for reasons I won't get into but which you can probably guess, weren't associated with the account anymore. The short explanation here is that the hat was working correctly, but the owner of the hat wasn't.

I've "fixed" the problem.


You can reach the cap and not reach 200 points if you placed a bounty the same day.

It could also be awarded for reputation earned on a now deleted post; once the hat is awarded, it is not taken away later when the criteria are no longer met (just as with badges).

However, in this case, the user has many more unexplained hats; a developer will have to come in and explain why the user also has:

  • a Ghost of Winterbash Past hat but no Necromancer badge
  • an Archeologist hat but no Revival badge
  • Do the Swim but no reviews
  • Hi Ho Silver but no silver badges
  • Marauder but no answers that were ever accepted after another accepted answer on the same question.
  • Peanut Gallery but not enough upvoted comments
  • Florence Nightingale but not enough edits

I find the number of 'unearned' hats to be far more suspicious.

For now, I'd go with 'account merge' or 'account deletion', then recreated with the same credentials as the explanation, and have asked a developer to look into the account. The fact the account has earned an association bonus but has no current accounts that have enough reputation to earn the bonus, supports the account deletion hypothesis (see Association Bonus not removed upon account deletion).

  • Your last guess was the correct one.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 20:42
  • @Shog9 I am extremely curious, is the fact the deleted accounts can still result in the association bonus in new accounts by design, or just a side effect of the current design? Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 0:38
  • I'm fairly confident, @psubsee2003, that the answer to that question is "yes".
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 0:40
  • @Shog9 nice evasion, since that wasn't really a yes/no question. :) Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 0:42
  • 1
    Thank you, @psubsee2003
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 0:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .