Could the responsible person(s) remove the Sumo Judge hat from the list?

Or is this intentional and the SE leadership wants the regulars to stop using chat? This hat is causing a starfest in various chat rooms.

  • 11
    It is not causing such a fest in the Python chatroom. We pinned a message directing people starring to the sandbox instead. Dec 15, 2014 at 20:36
  • I've had remove at least a few dozen stars from the C++ Lounge because of this. But I wouldn't go so far as to call it shi​tfest (yet).
    – Mysticial
    Dec 15, 2014 at 20:38
  • 4
    okay honestly you're losing it over a couple of stars?? That's completely unhelpful Dec 15, 2014 at 20:49
  • 7
    Could you explain a bit more clearly what the problem is? Obviously there are more messages being starred right now. But how, exactly, does that interfere with your use of chat? (For what it's worth, we've had hats for starring messages in chat during previous years and the activity dies down after everyone has their hat.) Dec 15, 2014 at 20:55
  • 4
    @JonEricson It's really annoying and disruptive to direct people to spam the chatrooms to hunt for hats. Exactly the reason why some of us don't like hats. It encourages bad behavior. That's like breaking into your neighbors home throwing the biggest party and saying "meh once the party is over the activity will die"
    – PeeHaa
    Dec 15, 2014 at 20:58
  • 12
    @PeeHaa I disagree. Introducing users with the chat is a good thing, and some stick even after the hats are gone. If user is being disruptive it's easy enough to flag. Dec 15, 2014 at 21:02
  • 3
    Send them over to the Tavern because MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF STARS
    – rene
    Dec 15, 2014 at 21:04
  • 1
    @PeeHaa: Maybe it would help if you provided a link and/or a screenshot of the sort of problems you are seeing. Tavern on the Meta had a bunch of random messages starred yesterday, but they are back to their normal (admittedly high) level today. Dec 15, 2014 at 21:04
  • I kicked the users and cleared the flags so there is not much to screenshot for you. It's only a matter of time before the next wave comes though like it goes every single year
    – PeeHaa
    Dec 15, 2014 at 21:06
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    @ShadowWizard FYI: there is no way to know who is staring (at least if the bug, which was leaking user IDs for flags and stars, has been fixed). Also, this is not introducing people to chat. It is urging them to use stars (which acts as "community bookmarks) without knowing what is the point of them. A much better introduction would be "join 3 rooms".
    – teresko
    Dec 15, 2014 at 21:07
  • I kinda like that idea of "join 3 rooms"
    – PeeHaa
    Dec 15, 2014 at 21:09
  • 6
    @teresko last year the hat was given for getting a star on your own message - it caused me to join and get that star, and I remained quite active long after the hats were gone. If stars bother the room regulars so much Martjin first comment here sounds like a reasonable solution. Dec 15, 2014 at 21:10
  • Join three rooms? Most sites don't even have three rooms. Dec 15, 2014 at 21:19
  • The sad part is, that's not even the most disruptive hat. See Pizza Hat (which appears to be a hidden hat) if you have no idea what I'm talking about.
    – Powerlord
    Dec 17, 2014 at 21:33
  • 1
    @tripleee the issue was that for the xmas, they had an achievement for "staring" 10 (or was it 20) comments in the chat. Which resulted in random people basically raiding chat rooms and messing with the chat systems "shared favourites" list (that usually contained either some relevant news items and links to community resources).
    – teresko
    Oct 28, 2021 at 18:24

2 Answers 2


Speaking as a regular (and room owner) in the most star-happy room on Stack Exchange:

What's wrong with stars?

They're only shown in the right-side bar, below all the (supposedly) more important pinned messages.

If you're using stars as a kind of "bookmark" and want to for some reason restrict the number of stars in a chat room, then you should really reconsider your approach. There is no way of preventing people from starring messages.

It really is just a matter of time before a room will be @Malachi'd (filled with a bunch of stars), and I honestly don't see anything wrong with that.

Usefulness of stars

I did not say stars are pointless. I find stars often useful and fun - yes, at the same time. When I search for messages in the chat, sorting by the number of stars a message has received can be very useful. As fun things are often said and starred in chat, it can be fun just looking randomly through the list of starred messages just to remember previous conversations.

Why the hat?

As for why there's a hat for it: Probably for the same reason as the hats and Winterbash exists at all.

You must be able to get the hats somehow, I find a hat for starring other people's messages to be a good one - people get introduced to the starring system.

You might not be entirely happy with what they star today, but hopefully they will discover how useful it can be to star things and will then reflect more on what they should star or not. (that probably depends on the chat room though, in the room I come from we haven't changed our starring patterns today. Things that got starred today would also have gotten starred yesterday). In fact, few people even know that there's a star cap of 20 messages per day, per person, per room. I think getting people to use stars more is a good initiative.

Addressing your specific questions

Or is this intentional and the SE leadership wants the regulars to stop using chat?

Why would regulars stop using chat just because there are more messages that are starred? Even if you find it a bit annoying that these stars are used in a way that you are not used to, why would that make you stop chat entirely? The most important usefulness of chat is to.... chat. In real-time. You don't need a star-free zone in order to do that.

This hat is causing a starfest in various chat rooms.

This is not saying anything at all about what exactly is starred.

If "random" messages are starred, then I believe that the signal is still greater than the noise - the most interesting messages has more than one star and is therefore easier to notice than the messages with only one star.

If the same messages are starred (gathering more than one star), then perhaps those messages were star-worthy after all?

  • 2
    Speaking of bookmarks, bookmarks are great for that purpose.
    – RubberDuck
    Dec 15, 2014 at 21:52
  • 2
    So you're saying that stars are pointless and nobody should be using them at all? If so, then why do they exist, and why are we encouraging people to go use them for the sake of a hat?
    – Servy
    Dec 15, 2014 at 21:52
  • 1
    This may be a bit presumptuous of me @Servy, but I think what he's saying is people are using the wrong tool for their purpose.
    – RubberDuck
    Dec 15, 2014 at 21:54
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    @RubberDuck The purpose of stars is to draw attention to content. If we bring in a bunch of people staring anything and everything to get a hat, then we lose the ability to quickly see what content is deserving of attention in the eyes of the people in the chat room. Much like on the main site, the purpose of being able to vote on content is more or less defeated if you bring in a huge population of users effectively voting randomly; the "real" votes get drowned out in the noise. It's the same with stars.
    – Servy
    Dec 15, 2014 at 21:58
  • @Servy Then ask users to star something interesting at least. (By the way, which room(s) have you encountered this "starfest" activity in?) Dec 15, 2014 at 22:02
  • 1
    So if stars are useful, and it's a worthwhile thing to do to see what posts have gotten a lot of stars, then why are you saying that no problems are caused by a bunch of people going around starring anything and everything to get a hat? Clearly if that's happening looking at stars is no longer particularly productive.
    – Servy
    Dec 15, 2014 at 22:16
  • 1
    @Servy I have personally not experienced that behavior. Again, which specific rooms are you talking about where this have happened? I feel that although a bunch of people are starring "random" things today, the signal is still greater than the noise. It is the messages that gets multiple stars that often are the most interesting. And if some message did get multiple "random and crazy" stars, then perhaps it was star-worthy after all? Dec 15, 2014 at 22:19
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    @SimonAndréForsberg If you feel that the people going to chat to star posts for a hat are largely starring interesting stuff that merits the stars, then say that in your answer, rather than saying it doesn't matter if people go around staring things randomly.
    – Servy
    Dec 15, 2014 at 22:21
  • 1
    @Servy I can't find myself having said anything that means "it doesn't matter if people go around starring things randomly." I have said that the room I come from, the starring patterns haven't changed. I have said that I find stars useful. Dec 15, 2014 at 22:28
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    @SimonAndréForsberg The question is saying that people are just going around starring anything and everything, and you're response is "what's wrong with that", rather than, "no they're not, they're still starring interesting stuff". Saying that the question is right, and it's irrelevant, is very different from saying that it's wrong.
    – Servy
    Dec 15, 2014 at 22:33
  • 1
    @Servy I didn't say "what's wrong with that", I said "what's wrong with stars?". I do not see that the question explicitly is saying that people are going around starring "anything and everything", but I guess that depends on how you interpret "starfest". I have edited my answer again recently, just let me know if you think I can improve it even more. Dec 15, 2014 at 22:51
  • 3
    Excellent answer, I never got why people are so pissed about stars. If you don't like like stars, well, then don't pay attention to the side bar. And if you like stars, then don't complain when others do so, too. I treat them like upvotes and don't hesitate to use them for interesting or funny messages, neither am I annoyed when others do so, too. Dec 16, 2014 at 11:47
  • @ChristianRau - you have the right idea, about stars, and upvotes, and that's the problem. You apparently think that votes and stars are there to mark items that interest you. Other people apparently think it is wrong for you to have your own opinion, and that you are only allowed to like the same things they do, and to the degree they think is appropriate. Now, I happen to agree with you, that those votes, and stars were given to me, and they can be used at my discretion. I have a limited supply, and that's all that's needed for me to evaluate what's worth it, or not.
    – rolfl
    Dec 16, 2014 at 13:22

As someone who

  • starred comments in chat for the purpose of gaining a hat
  • Effectively does not know what is the real effect of stars
  • do not have a great experience in chat even though I do intend on passing more time there

having had a pinned message urging me to leave regular chat rooms alone and star messages in the "sandbox" would have directed me and maybe prevented some unhapiness.

I'd think one of those two could solve that problem:

defining the hat requirements to:

give stars to 8 users in the sandbox


pin down a message on chat landing page directing hat collectors to the sandbox.

  • 1
    But what's the point of having the hat at all if were're only going to tell people to go into a worthless room that nobody pays attention to in order to earn your hat? You've changed the contribution from a negative one to a neutral one; it's still not a positive one.
    – Servy
    Dec 15, 2014 at 21:51
  • 1
    I thought of that and can't really find a coherent way to put it. My gut feeling is that anyway, the hat is a public hat, how to win it is very clear, it does not require any skill nor knowledge of anything and as such, it's of no great effect whatsoever where the stars are put. Dec 15, 2014 at 21:58
  • So you're saying that stars are just pointless in general, and nobody cares if we have effectively disabled that feature for the duration of the bash. Again, if that's the case, then why do we have stars at all? Why are we going out of our way to get people to go give them? You're once again asserting that this hat is not destructive, it's instead just neutral. That's still nowhere near a positive influence.
    – Servy
    Dec 15, 2014 at 22:02
  • Am I to understand that I should aim to actually find a way to help people learn the ropes of starring while not upsetting chatrooms regulars instead of just not upsetting chatrooms regular? Dec 15, 2014 at 22:07
  • 1
    Yes, otherwise you're just better off removing the hat entirely. It should be requiring some form of action in chat that is clearly positive behavior, and that requires other members to indicate that your action was positive. This doesn't do that, which is why it's causing abuse. If users were required to, for example, get a comment starred, rather than starring a content, then others will have felt that their contribution was positive, the system would be causing far less abusive behavior, and would in fact be encouraging positive behavior.
    – Servy
    Dec 15, 2014 at 22:10
  • 3
    @Servy: For what it's worth, we don't have a positive only requirement for hats like we do for badges. We've removed hat ideas from previous years that actively harm sites. That's why I'm curious what the problem is. So far I haven't been convinced that there's anything to be concerned with other than regulars noticing something is different today. Dec 15, 2014 at 22:24
  • 2
    For the life of me I can't figure out why this is getting downvotes. This seems like perfectly good and practical advice. I'm starting to think some people just hate fun.
    – RubberDuck
    Dec 16, 2014 at 12:41

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