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Winter Bash is approaching and the general sentiment is meh. I tend to agree, nobody is in mood for festive activities... besides that after having a few bashes, it gets less interesting.

On the other hand, all kind of crazy ideas are going around about making sites more friendly, more approachable, more easy going, more fun.

Well, if there is one thing fun around here it is Winter Bash.

I joined Stack Overflow in November. Winter Bash came soon after. And for a new user it was fun. But more importantly it was also an opportunity to learn about the site and its inner working without having to read boring walls of text.

So, do we really need Winter Bash?

Absolutely, YES.

And not only Winter Bash, but the Summer Bash, Spring Bash... basically

All Year Bash for New Users

This is the perfect activity for new users. Give them a more relaxing experience of the site, nudge them to participate more and to learn through fun, without changing (breaking) already established rules and the reputation system.

Besides the usual Winter Bash, we could also have an additional fixed period Summer Bash around the summer solstice.

But more importantly, we could have some hats that promote good actions and learning for new users all year round.

Instead of hiding down votes, or giving more reputation to questions, they could earn limited time hats (valid for a month or two) in addition to actions that reward badges.

For instance: reading the tour, visiting the help center, asking a good question...

Badges are nice but they are just dots on your profile. Hats are more fun and through learning about hats new users could become valuable members faster.

What do you think?

  • 22
    You already have a permanent hat ... – rene Nov 12 at 9:45
  • @rene I love hats :) Actually, not really... this is just part of my photo hunting equipment. You cannot shoot with sunglasses on. – Resistance Is Futile Nov 12 at 9:59
  • 1
    Echoing sentiments of others, participating in a Bash when a valued member is hurting is callous, to say the least. Let them first fix this issue before turning their creativity to whatever else. – Justice for Monica Nov 12 at 11:34
  • @JusticeforMonica Like I said, this is not meant to be discussion about current situation. Nobody that feels for Monica is in a mood for festivities. Me included. But the sites are still here and new users are coming. And there are bad ideas going around how to cater for those users. IMO hats are the least hurtful for the established rules and the systems. – Resistance Is Futile Nov 12 at 11:46
  • 2
    How about a "Reinstate Monica" hat? – Richard says Reinstate Monica Nov 12 at 17:50
  • Silly me... this was really stupid idea... who needs hats now when.reputation is falling from the sky... – Resistance Is Futile Nov 13 at 22:37
34

I'll give my two cents on the ordinary Winterbash event since I didn't answer the previous discussion about it.

While I won't tell Stack Exchange, or other users, what to do, I'd personally opt out of Winterbash this year, if it will take place, because:

  1. I'm not in the mood to play games while at least one person is in great mental pain due to the owners of the game, and those owners do nothing to even try and fix it.
  2. Taking active part in Winterbash will send strong wrong signal to other people who'll see me playing, that everything is OK, while everything is not OK.

While I'm still active as usual both on meta and in chat, under the surface the sadness and anger are still there. They don't leave room for things that would otherwise be fun.

  • @Cerbrus it's not meant to send any signal. It's just my own personal decision, which I now share here. Oh wait, I see what you mean, I'll edit. Edit: edited. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Nov 12 at 9:48
  • Yea, that's better :-) – Cerbrus Nov 12 at 9:49
  • I feel the way you feel. But our feelings will not change much. I would rather have hats and fun (though I don't feel like it) than some other features capable of totally derailing what little is currently left not derailed. – Resistance Is Futile Nov 12 at 9:52
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    @HerMajestyQueenofARC I respect your choice, but I limit my fun to chat, on SE. :) – Shadow The Princess Wizard Nov 12 at 9:53
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We do have a permanent bash like that, and they're called bronze badges:

The badge system exists for two reasons:

  • to teach new users how Stack Exchange works

  • to encourage activities that are positive to the community

Stack Exchange badges fall into three broad categories:

  1. Bronze badges. Bronze badges are awarded for basic use of the site; they encourage people to use all the typical, routine functions of the site: posting questions, answering questions, voting up or down, tagging posts, editing, filling out your user profile, and so forth. Bronze badges are relatively easy to get.

Making hats available all year round would make them less special. Yes, having fun is important, and being able to 'go crazy in a controlled way' once a year is nice, but at least the majority of the sites in the network are about serious and/or professional topics, and the system should (and does) reflect that.

Unlike 'established users' like you, new users get inbox notifications for almost all bronze badges and the badge progress tracker gives some hints about how to obtain new ones. So there's already a gamification system at work there.

  • 1
    Once you get bronze badge... another one is not so special. Having Informed hat would be more special. – Resistance Is Futile Nov 12 at 9:40
  • I agree, which is why I once wrote a SEDE query to check on which site I didn't have it yet, with links to the tour pages on said sites ... – Glorfindel Nov 12 at 9:43
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    Badges... meh – Mari-Lou A Nov 12 at 9:44
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    Hats..... meh – Glorfindel Nov 12 at 10:02
  • 1
    both... meh.... – Richard says Reinstate Monica Nov 12 at 17:52
  • 1
    Stack Exchange... meh... – MechMK1 Nov 13 at 9:01
9

Well at least you're not too bashful to ask, so not to bash your intentions, but a batch of bashes like this removes the added value of having a bash, which would Be-A SHame.

When you turn something special into something that's happening all the time, it becomes yet another feature.

That's when a good shooter turns into a hat simulator.

  • You can only get Informed hat once... for long term users nothing would change. This would be only for people just starting, or the people that already have accounts but they haven't been really active yet. – Resistance Is Futile Nov 12 at 9:56

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