Winter Bash 2013 came and went leaving behind satisfied users who had their share in the fun.

35 "ordinary" hats and 10 secret hats, users went hat hunting all over the place.

My question is, if you were one of those hat hunters, did anything "stick" i.e. you started doing something you did not do before, and you keep doing it now even though there are hats no more?

  • 7
    I think this is a fine discussion topic to help us see what incentives work and which don't. Commented Jan 5, 2014 at 2:12
  • 2
    Well. Not for me because I already contribute. A reward just makes me happier. Especially hats. Everyone loves hats.
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Jan 5, 2014 at 17:45
  • 4
    This is not too broad or primarily opinion based for meta (where we, you know, discuss our opinions on broad topics).
    – user50049
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 5:59
  • Where are my hats?
    – ADTC
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 9:33
  • 1
    @ADTC back in the closet. (oops, meant "it’s time to put the hats back in their boxes for another year" - see here :)) Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 9:37

8 Answers 8


While I'm not sure if this makes me "better user", I started using the chat to collect a hat or two but now I definitely intend to keep using the chat, at least the Meta tavern. I avoided chats in general for years due to my fear of becoming too "addicted" but I was proven wrong, and can split my time just fine.

  • 23
    That's what they all say...
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 5, 2014 at 0:03
  • 2
    @Shog9 so true... but see I'm now not in the chat! ;) (by the way congrats for resuming your good old name, so easier to type or pronounce :)) Commented Jan 5, 2014 at 0:08
  • Did you answer this just for a hat?
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Jan 5, 2014 at 17:45
  • @ColeJohnson nope, I started this discussion after Winter Bash was already over. Commented Jan 5, 2014 at 19:17
  • 1
    @ShadowWizard I don't believe this.
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Jan 5, 2014 at 21:39

I uploaded a profile picture. It's persisted past winter bash.

  • lol... that's very good! Commented Jan 5, 2014 at 16:00
  • 1
    How did that make you a better user though? How is that at all relevant?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 8:25
  • @animuson engagement is engagement ;p Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 9:27
  • @animuson it made other people better users, since it's really good looking.
    – djechlin
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 15:15
  • I'm sorry, but this answer is like going to a job interview and answering the "How has your past job made you a better worker?" question with "I cut my hair, and have continued cutting it." That's just plain not useful.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 17:55
  • 3
    @animuson please read the original post and not just the title. This is a feature of the site I haven't used before and now did. It's there for a reason. If you really don't think user pictures make people in any way a better or more contributing user, please get SE to retire the feature and save the bandwidth and screen real estate.
    – djechlin
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 18:02

One thing the Archaeologist hat encouraged me to do on Electrical Engineering was to go back and write proper detailed answers for a few questions I'd previously answered in comments which is something I'll try to keep on top of in the future. It also prompted me to improve a few CW posts for the Stallman hat which is something I hadn't done before.

While I'm fairly regular in the EE chatroom it was also nice to go in there and "hand out" a few hats and see a few new faces some of whom seem to have stuck around, so I'll also make more of an effort to assist any new users in chat in the future.

  • Cheers, thanks for sharing! :) Commented Jan 5, 2014 at 12:32

While I had always done tag work, this Winterbash pushed me to complete my Research Assistant badge on SO for the SO Hi-Ho Silver hat, and to do a lot of tag work on Meta also (though I didn't figure out the Before It Was Cool hat and just missed it). I actually learned quite a few things about the tag wiki process that I hadn't realized before.

I also realized that I need to work on the Review queues more to have myself in a good position for a badge-related hat when the next Winterbash comes, so I'll be trolling those regularly (on SO, I always checked out the Meta ones).

  • You know, it was downright hard to get a review in on the queues other than the close vote queue, a lot of folks were trying to get Robocop.
    – user50049
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 6:01
  • @TimPost, Yeh, I was trying hard to max all queues for one day, hoping there might be a hat for that, but I could never get enough 'Late Answers'. Laszlo succeeded though, but no hat. Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 6:03
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    Ah, you weren't far off - you had to complete five reviews in five different queues, which was downright hard with so many trying. I kind of like the idea of two review related hats next year, one easy to get (let folks that mostly ignore /review take a tour through it) and one hard to get, for folks that do lots of reviews.
    – user50049
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 6:19

There once was a user from Nippon
Who wanted to put different hats on
Please don't convict him
For gaming the system
Since that behavior was common

There were a few less-than-stellar behaviors promoted by the hats, specifically: encouraging necromancy, begging for upvotes, making questions out of hatsessity rather than necessity, and copious amounts of flagging -- overall I wish it made us all better users, but I think it made several of us -- myself included, change certain behaviors for the worse due to the compelling nature of headwear


It certainly made me contribute a lot more than usual. I liked the idea of the event and started collecting them as soon as I got my first hat.

I edited posts, added comments whenever it was relevant, and answered questions not only on SO but on other sites of the SE network as well, which is something I wouldn't do otherwise. I flagged posts, talked on chat, and I even asked a question that was cool enough to render me a few hats and golden badges.

I spent several hours trying to complete tasks to earn hats.

I'm glad it's over and that I can go back to my regular life, thanks!

  • 1
    Wow that was quite a question you posted there... kudos! Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 7:49

I'm new to the site, but it got me into the habit of upvoting good answers when they helped me out. Unfortunately, one or two of the hats seem to encourage upvoting indiscriminately, but it didn't take too long to find 40 answers that were actually good.


I was already doing most things that were encouraged by hats even before the Winterbash so getting over 20 of them on SO was not a problem.

It made me realise though how hard it is to resist temptation to get one more by gaming the system or slightly (or not so slightly) stretching the rules. I hope I didn't do it a lot (though this cw post wasn't really in a bad need of editing)...

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