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Comparing leaderboard of 2019 with last year, It seems I did the same this time too (missing out on 2 hats again). But nobody got all the hats this year when last year there were six people. And even for the top spot, the tie was with two people only (missing one/one hat each).

It seems apparent to me participation was lesser this year and most of it was due to the most controversial year of StackExchange. Or maybe due to lack of originality.

So I wanted to know if we have comparative statistics of 2019 Winter Bash with previous years; like no. of participants, top sites with most hats, top users getting hats above some threshold (75% or 80%), etc.

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    @aparente001 Not only about 2018 but for previous years too if possible – Ankit Sharma Jan 2 at 7:57
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Here are the stats from all Winter Bashes.

| Year | Users  | Hats   | Winners                                       | # of Winners |
|------|--------|--------|-----------------------------------------------|--------------|
| 2012 | 46710  | 108924 | N/A*                                          | N/A          |
| 2013 | 76586  | 214172 | Logan M                                       | 1            |
| 2014 | 84442  | 244872 | Logan M, Martijn Pieters, rolfl, Mike Miller  | 4            |
| 2015 | 72184  | 322755 | Quill, David, Bhargav Rao                     | 3            |
| 2016 | 215961 | 797078 | Alexander O'Mara, alecxe, Eran, David         | 4            |
| 2017 | 173054 | 546504 | A J, David, alecxe                            | 3            |
| 2018 | 335281 | 604061 | alecxe, Alexander O'Mara, Eran, Panda, eLRuLL | 5            |
| 2019 | 163865 | 265946 | David, X-27 wants to Reinstate Monica         | 2            |

* The N/A from 2012 is because there was no network leaderboard. The network leaderboard started in 2013.

Before you look at the numbers and think this year had lower participation, you have to realize all is not equal.
It's not fair to compare the leader getting all the hats one year vs this year missing some. That could simply mean the hats were easier to get last year. (Which is also supported by there being a record number of winners last year, five.)

First off what hat triggers there were made a huge difference in the number of hats collected. Some years had "Every! Body! Gets! A Hat!" which inflated the hat count. Other years had no "vote or post on X day" which greatly reduced the hat count. Then there was the "Still Fresh" hat in 2018. That added an extra 200000 hats

Further, who hed access to the WB makes a big difference. Before 2015 the WB was opt in per site. Also (and this made a big difference) on SO users had to opt in to the WB, in 2016 everybody got the WB.

Knowing all that, instead of trying to normalize the stats it is much easier to compare activity across years using hats with the same trigger.

First up is "Starred chat, ±12h from Jan 1, 0:00 UTC"

| Year | Hat                          | count                   |
|------|------------------------------|-------------------------|
| 2015 | Auld Lang Syne               | 614 times, 544 distinct |
| 2016 | First Responder              | 605 times, 508 distinct |
| 2017 | Glasses With A Number On Top | 299 times, 257 distinct |
| 2018 | Glasses With A Number On Top | 320 times, 282 distinct |
| 2019 | Glasses With A Number On Top | 211 times, 194 distinct |

"Answer +5 a -3 question; later +3"

| Year | Hat          | count                 |
|------|--------------|-----------------------|
| 2014 | Red Baron    | 26                    |
| 2015 | Flying Tiger | 11 (rarest hat ever)  |
| 2016 | Maverick     | 17                    |
| 2017 | Waffles      | 16 times, 14 distinct |
| 2018 | Red Baron    | 13                    |
| 2019 | Red Baron    | 21                    |

Granted using such a rare hat is not a good measure of over all activity, and was further skewed this year from a meta Q that granted somewhere around 15 users that hat.

"collect 11 hats"

| Year | Hat                | count                     |
|------|--------------------|---------------------------|
| 2015 | Specialist Hatsman | 1911 times, 1763 distinct |
| 2016 | 011                | 2938 times, 2722 distinct |
| 2017 | The Milliner       | 1380 times, 1292 distinct |
| 2019 | The Milliner       | 311 times, 291 distinct   |

Now that is a striking difference. (2017 had the freebee "And YOU Get A Hat!" and three "Post or vote" hats vs 2019 had two "Post or vote" hats and no free hat.) Still there were less users getting many hats this WB.)

"Post or vote on Dec 25"

| Year | Hat                         | count                       |
|------|-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
| 2015 | O Tannenbaum                | 21104 times, 16326 distinct |
| 2016 | Bûche de Noël               | 33925 times, 28770 distinct |
| 2017 | Red Hat With White Fur Trim | 34350 times, 29603 distinct |
| 2019 | Bûche de Noël               | 40313 times, 35089 distinct |

Do note that in 2017 it was a secret hat. Interesting that there were less users collecting many hats, but more users getting this hat.

Another thing to compare is the votes on the hat list posts over the years.

| Year | Post        | Vote total on question | DV count |
|------|-------------|------------------------|----------|
| 2014 | Secret Hats | 338                    | 5        |
| 2015 | Secret Hats | 340                    | 11       |
| 2016 | All Hats    | 579                    | 12       |
| 2017 | Hats        | 210                    | 4        |
| 2018 | Hat list    | 197                    | 4        |
| 2019 | Hat list    | 74                     | 26       |

Note the votes are totaled for that year's time frame, meaning the total for 2014 ended in Jan of 2015. (Thus the results are not skewed by the older posts getting more votes).
A lot less activity going to the 2019 post. The active community on meta hated this WB more then ever (probably because of the Monica issue).

All in all there were fewer users (about 5% less) that collected many fewer hats (about 94% less). Interestingly that correlates roughly to established users shunning the WB, and drive by users participating and getting a few hats.

Detailed stats: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

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