I'm a moderator on Travel.SE who likes the yearly Winter Bash hats, but my actions aimed towards increasing my hat count caught the attention of one of our users in chat:

It isn't a good idea to game the system to get hats. It's supposed to be fun, not an excuse to game the system. Sorry for my tone but there's no other way to put this.

Therefore I wanted to clarify with the Community Moderators - what kind of actions are we allowed to take in order to gain a new Winter Bash hat? Specifically:

  1. Can I answer an old question (with a good answer!) specifically because doing so would gain me a hat?
  2. Can I create a new useful question and answer it, specifically because this gains me a hat?
  3. Can I ask others to take a look at the review queue, as successful reviews get you a hat?
  4. Can I add a comment on a post and ask others to upvote the comment?
  5. Can I ask someone to upvote my answer with 39 votes to gain a Guru badge, which in turn gives you a hat?
  6. Can I ask for a "temporary" upvote - encouraging others to take back the vote after I gain the hat?
  7. Can I ask others to star my message in chat?

I'm primarily looking for an official guidance from the Community team, but others are of course free to comment with their views on the subject.

  • To the downvoters: yes, the title looks like I'm a bad guy, but this is a properly thought out question. Please add your opinion below rather than immediately downvoting. Dec 18, 2020 at 3:56
  • Related: Discouraging “soul-selling” for hats
    – Panda
    Dec 18, 2020 at 3:58
  • 2
    Nah, you can ask people whatever you want to ask them. just note that doing so doesn't always get you what you ask for!
    – Kevin B
    Dec 18, 2020 at 4:00

1 Answer 1


I'm generally really averse and want to discourage any actions that involve flaunting the cardinal rule of voting on our network:

Vote for the post content, not the person who wrote it.

For that reason, I really would rather y'all not ask for people to upvote your own or other people's posts for the purpose of getting a hat... and, well... any other reason. If you wouldn't ask someone to upvote a post in general, why is it OK for Winter Bash hat profit? And, yeah, I know that not everyone is as concerned about it as I am and, yes, people ask for upvotes often... but it's not a great thing.

I do appreciate you asking about it here and pinging me to get clarifications!

So, to sum up your list:

  1. Absolutely! Please do write excellent answers, even if you know they're getting you a hat.
  2. Definitely! If you can think of a great question that will benefit the site you use, absolutely ask it.
  3. Encouraging people to review is exactly why the hat exists, so do feel free to encourage others to review, too.
  4. I don't really have concerns about that since there's no rep associated with it and you can easily delete the comment after - just don't annoy someone by posting a junk comment on their post.
  5. Please don't. Upvoting posts (particularly your own) earns you reputation and goes against my line of thought in the intro.
  6. There's no guarantee that you'll get the hat during the window for rescinding votes, which means that these votes could be permanent... or would at least require an edit to "unlock" them. I'd rather you don't do this, either.
  7. Sure. I wouldn't personally but there's no rep impact for it - just try to make sure that the room you're in won't mind the extra noise on their star board.

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