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How is Winter Bash different from the traditional gamification on Stack Exchange websites? What is the purpose?

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    I don't think that's it at all. "Gamification" isn't a negative word, not insulting to the players, and perfectly appropriate in this context. Winter Bash is indeed a game; it provides an incentive to hunt for hats. The more likely reason for the downvotes is a lack of research effort, the very first reason listed in the tooltip. The official Winter Bash page has been made highly discoverable, and it has a very nicely put together FAQ that explains everything well. @sha
    – Cody Gray
    Dec 20 '20 at 17:44
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    @Shadow the Hatter Wizard: Gamification and gaming the system are two completely different things. Wikipedia article on gamification. Wikipedia article on gaming the system. Dec 21 '20 at 14:23
  • @P.Mort.-forgotClayShirky_q I also thought like this
    – user895495
    Dec 21 '20 at 15:36
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    @ShadowWizardisVaccinating Gamification is an English word with a very precise meaning, that has nothing to do with cheating. The whole reputation system of Stack Exchange is gamification. The word has been used in the blog (The Overflow). If some users misinterpret the word "gamification", that is not the fault of the OP.
    – wimi
    Dec 30 '20 at 18:27
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It's different because it's temporary and more fun-oriented than the reputation and badge systems.

After all the hard work this year, and the whole situation with the pandemic, we deserve some kind of party or holiday, and Winter Bash is exactly that. It also helps increasing participation and traffic in a period that is otherwise known for low activity; most of the traffic to the network is Stack Overflow and many of those programmers searching for solutions to problems they face at work are on holiday right now.