Winter Bash 2016 is not over yet (it started later than usual this year and will end later than usual), but after noticing that the corresponding versions of this question for Winter Bash 2015 and Winter Bash 2014 were posted on Jan 4 2016 and Jan 4 2015 respectively, I figured it would be fitting to post this year's version on Jan 4 2017.

Please post your suggestions regarding how to make Winter Bash 2017 even more fun than Winter Bash 2016.

  • New suggestions for hats and hat triggers (either regular or secret ones)
  • Which hats should be kept?
  • Which hats should be retired?
  • Do we want more secret Hats?
  • Do we want more secret hats that don't get triggered until long after the start of Winter Bash?

Let's keep the traditional format of one suggestion per answer, so people can vote on individual suggestions.

See also: Winter Bash wrap-up on the SO blog

  • 5
    Have we ever had a hat for asking a HNQ?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 19:06

44 Answers 44


Make the hat notifications less spammy

With the large number of "post or vote on ..." hats this year, the blue dot in my top bar stayed pretty much constantly lit.

I just counted, and it seems I managed to earn Where in the World? 22 times, Bûche de Noël 18 times, I Have A Little Dreidel 43 times, Mmmm Bacon 16 times, Epiphany 6 times, and Just Here for the Hat a total of 50(!) times. I'm sure the same thing happened to other people who have accounts on multiple SE sites and like to browser the Hot Network Questions sidebar for interesting questions.

There were a couple of points where I was really close to clicking the "I hate hats" link just to get rid of the annoying notification.

For next year, I have a request: please only light up the notification icon for new hats, not for the ones that I've already earned on some other site.

Finding out that you've finally managed to hit the rep cap three times in a row is awesome, and deserves a notification. Finding out that you've clicked the upvote button on yet another site during the solstice / Christmas day / Chanukah / New Year's eve / etc. isn't, and doesn't.


With 41 hats this year, I miss the '42'.*

This can be an universal hat, as 42 is the answer to everything, but I would like it to be for those who are not regulars on many sites. A hat for the new guys/girls who have not learned all the tricks of the trade.

Maybe for getting to have 50 rep on a site, which will exclude all of us long term users who will get 100 extra on joining a new site. (Yes, that does exclude me.)

While it is not impossible for someone to start as 'new user' at the start of WB to also earn most or even all of the other hats, it would be very unlikely for someone to be able to get all hats, even less likely to win all on one site.

PS. For those who don't get it, 42 as in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

*-It turns out there were 42 hats, the day and night hats counted as two separate ones. Still, I feel that there are not really 42 as the day/night were given for the same reason and at the same time.

  • Instead of just 50 rep, trying adding notable achievements such as a positive score question, answer, and comment. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 21:08
  • I did pick a thing that is only available for new users who do not have accounts elsewhere. It can be any amount of Rep below 100, as long as users got it by positive action, not by negative action.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 21:12
  • I could simply add a bounty of 50 rep to bypass this Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 21:14
  • @Mithrandir just for future reference, "random edits" is not a good suggested edit description. Please elaborate on how your edits helps the post (improves grammar, etc).
    – JAL
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 21:14
  • @PythonMaster, my point here is that the hat would ONLY be available for people who are new to Stack Exchange. Whether they earn it by 2 rep at a time working hard on approved edits, or by being lucky with one good answer. Or by winning one bounty.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 21:16
  • "Reach 100 rep by asking and/or answering questions"? This excludes edits, but people brand new to SE (no association bonus) probably aren't best off starting with edits anyway. It does allow bounties, but how concerned should we be about somebody standing up a sock just to transfer rep to it to get the sock a hat? That seems pretty limited. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 21:22
  • We could make it a thing that the hat can not be transfered, so people can earn the hat for their own pleasure if they make a sock, but can not win all hats on one account.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 21:27

Badge Giver Hat

Being the one that, with an upvote, makes a question or answer to hit 10 (Nice Q/A), 25 (Good Q/A) or 100 (Great Q/A) score, hence giving a badge for someone.


Secret Hat For Editing a Hidden Gem “Question”

Similar to the description in the late answers review task but with a twist.

The hat would be earned for anyone who edited a -3 question which subsequently earned four upvotes.

First, it shows that LQQs can sometimes be drastically improved/saved with a good edit. Secondly, it's important that the edit is not done for egoistic purposes, e.g. wanting to post an answer on a question that was deliberately "tailor-made". Lastly, if the editor upvotes the question, I don't find anything wrong with that. It just means they saw a potential gem hiding among the "garbage".

  • Would it be better if the question reached a score of 4 instead Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 21:06
  • 2
    It's really rare that a -3 question can earn +7 upvotes, I think earning +4 or +5 votes is possible if the edit is spot on. You want something achievable in order to earn a hat not a miracle ☺ This is from an EL&U viewpoint. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 21:38
  • Or maybe just positive Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 1:52


A hat for dealing the killing blow (5th Close Vote) to a question.

While not an issue on main sites such as StackOverflow, other sites (e.g. WorldBuilding) often see questions getting much attention even though they do not fit the format and thus further encourage questions that are off-topic.
Such a hat would (hopefully) encourage people with enough reputation to more liberally apply their VTC rights.

1Him, Her, Them, It, Us, ...

  • 3
    On Aviation.SE people are already quite liberal with their VTC rights. I'd rather not encourage that!
    – Notts90
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 16:31

Consolation Prize

A(nother) bounty-based hat idea. We had a hat this year for awarding a bounty on the final day, but what if you don't get an answer at all, or at least not anything worthy eligible for the automatic-bounty awarding? In other words:

What if the bounty expires with no winning answer?

According to the Help Page on Bounties:

If you do not award the bounty within 24 hours of the bounty period ending, half the bounty value will be automatically awarded to the top voted answer posted after the bounty start, provided it has a score of at least 2. If no new answer matches this requirement, no reputation will be awarded at all, and the reputation used on the bounty will be lost forever.

So the requirements for the badge would be:

Consolation Prize

Start a bounty in Winterbash that expires without a winning answer (not manually awarded and no answer >= 2 total score).

Why I think this hat would work well:

  • Hard to game: Your can't just raise a bounty and then not award it. Other people's votes will ensure that at least some of the bounty is awarded to people that try to answer the question. You can also only raise 3 bounties per-site at one time, so the 'shotgun' approach won't work either.
  • Semi-random: It's not something you can just work towards, like 'Edit 5 posts' or 'Close and Reopen' a question. It's a little bit luck-based (or unlucky if you consider the fact you didn't get an answer).
  • The Spirit of Giving: Like all previous bounty hats, it rewards those who are willing to give and it helps get eyeballs and answers on questions.
  • Low entry fee: You need 75 rep to raise a bounty, compared to 2000 for non-suggested editing hats or 3000 for closing/reopening hats.

This could also work well as a secret hat, making it harder to game.


Viral hats

Seed a couple of these at random (or infect the CMs) then award them for up-voting someone who already has the hat.

Result: up-votes all around!

  • This has been suggested already: meta.stackexchange.com/a/289357/278543 Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 22:13
  • @PythonMaster I don't know how I missed that. Different trigger, though.
    – SQB
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 22:15
  • 7
    This hat would encourage drive-by votes and probably vote fraud and moderators getting swarmed by rep caps for Winter Bash. I prefer mods work for their rep :) Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 22:21

Inspired by this earlier post

Change the "Maverick" from a non-secret to a secret hat.

As we've seen some concerns about the behaviour triggered by the criteria of this particular hat, maybe the criteria can be slightly modified (the present criteria is already known) and the hat can be made a "secret" hat. This way

  1. The possibility of alleged "gaming" the system would be less.
  2. There would not be much space for doubting the actual quality of the Q/A.
  • 1
    A version of this hat was already a secret hat last year (I don't remember if the trigger was exactly the same). And trying to figure out the exact trigger of a secret hat may result in much more "gaming" than winning regular hats (especially last year, when figuring the trigger of a secret hat gave you an additional manual hat).
    – Eran
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 19:10
  • 3
    @Eran I don't disagree, but IMHO, the amount of users involved in finding the trigger of a secret hat is much less compared to the number of users trying to achieve a non-secret hat. Also, I support the idea of dropping the "Eureka" hat, just FYI. Most of the secret hats should come "naturally" based on the actions. Testing for the trigger of secret hat are also sometimes useful, like editing old questions, removing old comments (mostly noise, IMHO) etc. Just my two cents. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 19:16

Selfless / Mask of Zorro "Hat"

  • Edit an answer to a question where your own answer already got accepted; this answer should already have two upvotes when you edit it.
  • The answer you improved becomes the new "accepted answer".

This can be a secret hat but doesn't need to be.

  • 1
    I fear that may contribute to users posting low quality (though correct) fast answers. What's the point in editing another answer with what you should have posted in the first place? I'd like to see a mask of zorro design though!
    – Mariano
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 9:55
  • @Mariano 1. The edit to the other answer doesn't need to involve adding content from your own answer. 2. How would you define a correct answer that is of low quality?
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 10:14
  • 1. I see your point, but I don't see how this would be awarded for things you regularly do on the site. 2. I was referring to a code only or "try this" answer.
    – Mariano
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 10:24
  • 1
    @Mariano To address your second comment, I added the condition that the edited answer needs to have two upvotes. I hope that helps against spamming with low-quality answers to game the system.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 11:22

Give us a site to test the hats.

Don't get rid of secret hats, just give us a place to test them. If we had a site for testing, such as Winter Bash 2017 Secret Hat Testing site, that would remove soul-selling for hats.

The only downside would be that we can't test secret hats on old questions here. But I think it's worth it for any other triggers.


I am seeing a hat for nearly every feature, like editing 5 old questions (Werewolf Hunter), cleaning up comments after post owner edit (It's a me), removing 10 unnecessary comments from 2017 (This is Fine), Vote 7 times from app (Too cool), etc.

Should we have one for cleaning up downvotes, which should be removed when post owner edited legitimately? As the downvoter won't get notification as he didn't comment (if I am not wrong) and the owner cannot ping the downvoter to get revision?

This will motivate someone to revisit & revert their downvotes.

  • 7
    This question is for this current event. At the end of the event, we post a new one for the following year (2018), this should be posted there.
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 15:50

What is my hat rank?

At the moment, you can go to the hat leader boards and see who has the most hats. But I can't see what my rank is. Sure there is a number that I get, but there a bunch of other people with that number also. Why?

I am not sure how that ranking works on the hat leaderboards, but I think it would be better to have the leaderboard work like the site wide rep leaderboard. With everyone getting their own rank.


I now know how the leaderboards work. Should we make it so ranks are first come first serve? That way we only have one user for each rank.

  • A bunch of other people have that number because they have the same number of hats as you. With rep, that's mostly a non-issue. You could possibly rank them by rarest hats but that's a bit wiggly and prone to changes.
    – user311528
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 14:48
  • @EᴀsᴛᴇʀʟʏIʀᴋ What causes the large gaps in rank numbers? Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 14:52
  • 7
    When 2 people are tied for 2nd, then the next person is automatically placed at 4th (because 2nd and 3rd are "taken up" by the 2 people tied).
    – user311528
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 14:53
  • That would be a little unfair... they got the same number of hats and should earn the same rank. 1st place is all that matters anyways :) Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 23:05
  • Would this maybe work with the hat leader for that particular site getting a "special" top hat earning hat? Perhaps go by rep if there's a tie for the top spot. I don't know how that would work or triggering it, but I think that would be cool and kind of "bragging rights." Just a suggestion :) Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 23:16

A hat for spending the holidays off the network

This year we had a hat for posting something on the chat on the New Year.

What about having a hat for spending some of the holidays off the network/site.

E.g. a hat that would be awarded to someone that spends at least 3 consecutive days without logging into (any) Stackexchange site?

How to award this hat:

UserXYZ is online on day 1. They are then offline for days 2, 3 and 4. They come online again on day 5 and get the hat.

  • 11
    That defeats the purpose of Winterbash. You might as well award a hat for not participating in Winterbash.
    – Eran
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 10:58
  • @Eran your proposal, an example of overt extremeness, would indeed defeat any purpose of a reward for balancing people's consumption of digital media and similar. The idea I proposed is meant to get people to think before mindlessly chasing yet another medal...
    – dot_Sp0T
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 15:44
  • 3
    a hat that would be awarded to someone that spends at least 3 consecutive days without logging into (any) Stackexchange site - you do realize that would greatly inflate the number of hats awarded, right? People who are no longer active on the site would get a hat. The purpose of hats is to do things on the site. If you want to take 3 days, then feel free but I don't think we'll award a hat for it.
    – Taryn
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 22:04
  • 1
    I'm going to point out that this idea could distress hardcore hat collectors who are moderators or have rolls that require them to be available. Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 1:08
  • @bluefeet thanks for the pointer. I actually forgot to write down half my thoughts it seems..
    – dot_Sp0T
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 6:20

Make the hunt for secret hats bit easier

Give the names of all secret hats in advance, either in the blog annoucement or in the Winterbash site itself. No clues, just the names.

At least for me, if I would hunt for secret hats, knowing the names before someone else get them first would also be an incentive.

  • 13
    No! We want mysteries because we feel more accomplished and feel like we can do anything Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 21:51
  • 5
    IMHO, the names didn't really help during this WB (my first), and on top of that I would actually want it to be a secret...
    – Andrew Li
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 22:04

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