Winter Bash 2016 has started, and is in full swing. I love hats as much as the next person, but can't help notice some "soul-selling" for them (which I am also guilty for). By "soul-selling" I mean things such as votes not based on content ("This is Fine" for example, and for badges and thus, hats), answering and immediately deleting after receiving hat, gaming the system, all for the purpose of testing hat criteria and getting them. Testing things such as reviewing or editing are fine, as they do not harm the site (by disproportionally representing content), but things such as unethical voting should be stopped.1
In my honest opinion, and as many others have said, hats seem to encourage this behavior - with many hats implicitly requiring a positive scoring answer, and with many users willing to sell their soul for glorious hats, it becomes bad for the site. My questions are:
- Is okay to test hat criteria in this fashion? By getting others involved to do certain things?
- How can we discourage unethical "soul-selling"? Is there even a way, as someone will always find another way?
1 I understand everyone is entitled to their vote, and unless serially upvoted, usually shouldn't be reversed. But with things such as the Winter Bash where users are banding together, voting to test theories or trying to get hats, maybe they should be examined more closely?