Winter Bash 2022 is going on right now, so why not use the opportunity to gather ideas/suggestions/corrections for next year?

Please post your suggestions regarding how to make Winter Bash 2023 even more fun than the previous Winter Bashes.

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.

Here are the suggestions from previous years:

  • 2
    Would be nice if knitting would return - it was nice to look at the creative output that was produced..
    – iLuvLogix
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 11:27
  • 1
    There will be no WinterBash 2023.
    – Laurel
    Commented Dec 3, 2023 at 19:45

24 Answers 24


Which hats should be retired?

I believe the K-Pop Light Stick hat should be removed. Users with high rep who don't even log in to Stack Exchange sites during Winter Bash can get it. It's also hard for some sites to have this many upvotes in one answer. Newer Stack Exchange users would also have a rougher time to get this hat.

I believe this hat should be replaced with some hat about something like posting an answer during Winter Bash that gets 3+ score. Or, something like 10 answers each with 1+ score.

  • 7
    I agree. It's like this hat is exclusively made for SO. Throughout the years, across several sites, I've only earned one Great Answer badge. Moreover, which answer gets that many upvotes has to do with popularity of the subject matter, not at all with quality (i.c. it's this one).
    – Joachim
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 9:42
  • 1
    @Joachim Exactly. Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 9:42
  • 3
    This might be the hardest hat ever. Previously, the only similar hats required you to get any gold badge.
    – Laurel
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 13:09
  • 14
    Couldn't lowering the threshold to a "good answer" badge be implemented instead of retiring the hat altogether?
    – Bella_Blue StaffMod
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 18:18
  • 2
    @Bella_Blue That would be good too! Commented Dec 28, 2022 at 11:57

Keep in mind the Giant Robot of Offense framework when planning for the new triggers.

The Giant Robot of Offense is a framework for creating content which won’t harm people. I use it for role-playing games, but it applies to any media which generate participatory elements (including cosplay and fanfiction).

The framework is founded on three principles:

  • the Legs: Good Intentions
  • Arms and Body: I Didn’t Use This to Hurt People
  • the Head: No One Else Can Use This to Hurt People

Almost every year we have some triggers that fail at the third step.

When user-to-user interaction can prevent someone from fulfilling a trigger, you can be sure that someone will go a long length to harass other users and ruin their fun.

Four Ayes
Have a specific post upvoted at least once per day for four days with no downvotes in between

While it is clear that the "no downvote" requirement was made in order to enforce a minimum quality, the end result is that some users actively downvoted posts to prevent others from getting the hat. This was referenced multiple times in the Winter Bash 2022 chat rooms, with many users getting serial downvotes on their questions just when they were close to reach the goal.

Please, do something to avoid these annoying situations that keep happening every year. When developing a new trigger, ask yourself:

Can the Grinch harass people by exploiting our requirements in order to make users lose their chance at getting the hat?

  • 12
    +1. In fact, hats like "Question with no answers for a week" (Silencium, 2018) or "Answer +7 with no comments on Q or A" (Silencium, 2017) should never ever be brought back too.
    – Panda
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 12:29
  • 2
    I mean, if everyone else is allowed to have fun, so too should the trolls
    – Kevin B
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 22:01
  • 5
    @KevinB I think that a wise one once said that there is a subtle yet important difference between having fun with somebody and having fun at somebody...
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 18:55

Which hats should be kept?

Continue including at least one hat that's a plain pair of sunglasses with a cool title. I liked the hat 2cool4school so much I can hardly get myself to wear a different hat, there weren't any plain sunglasses in 2021 nor in 2020 nor in 2019 so I found this hat to be very satisfying.

  • 6
    As the resident sunglasses-wearing CM, I support this request. 😎
    – V2Blast
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 23:11
  • agreed and this hat should be enable on all other sites as well.
    – Krakalien
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 11:14

We really like frustrating the completionists. :P
Catija, Dec 20th 2022

An hat that is different for every user.

Spinda, a Pokemon added in the third generation Pokemon games has an unique characteristic. Every Spinda in the game has a different appearance based on their unique personality value, hidden from the player. Because of this, there are actually 4,294,967,295 (2^32 - 1) possible variations.

enter image description here example, courtesy of Bulbapedia

It should be pretty easy to create some hat that actually has a different color pattern based on the user id, so that everyone gets a sightly different variant.

[And if you really want to be evil also assign the hat a different name from a random word list, so that users will actually believe these are different hats they could get...]

  • 13
    So... you want an NFT hat?
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 21:33
  • @Catija unicoins 2.0??
    – starball
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 2:35
  • 2
    @Catija I think that Spinda anticipates NFT by far. Furthermore, technically, an NFT is nothing more than a token that certifies the ownership of an unique good - usually a digital file. It is not written anywhere that the token has to reference an unique artwork variant generated from a seed. That is just something you commonly see because seed-based generation was already a common thing: substitute the email address with a block chain uri and even a Gravatar could be sold as an NFT
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 7:34
  • 2
    This proposal is more about using the same logic used by gravatar - or balpha Unicornify if you prefer - to create a simple hat with a texture that changes depending on the user id.
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 7:37

Please can we avoid incentivising bad behaviors by rewarding them with hats? For example, one of the top users on the overall leaderboard got their reviewing hats by submitting loads of bad reviews and ended up getting review banned. I also saw plenty begging for upvotes to get the hat for a 100-scored answer or even just well-received answers (+1).

It's really frustrating especially as someone who joined stack exchange this year and found it hard to learn the unwritten rules (don't ask for upvotes etc) to then see that spammy behavior rewarded when it's someone with loads of rep doing it. I guess imo the hats should just be a bit of fun that encourage positive behavior without it being a 'who has the most people that they can pester to upvote their posts' or 'who can autoclick through reviews fastest' competition. I guess that's a difficult balance to strike tho.

  • 8
    No, hats for reviews is a good idea. The way to fight bad behavior IMO, is to revoke the hat in case of bad behavior, and maybe even revoke all hats, so that people will learn once and for all not to hunt for hats in bad ways. Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 12:11
  • 7
    @ShadowWizard I would endorse a feature request for mods to be able to revoke hats due to their having been earned fraudulently/via bad behavior. Otherwise, or until such time as that is implemented, what you're proposing is not a feasible deterrent, because we can't wait for staff to handle this, especially because a large portion of Winter Bash coincides with a company holiday. Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 15:32

I'll risk sounding like a broken record, but I'd really like some memento from Winter Bash when its over. To quote the FAQ:

What happens after January 4th?
After January 4th, the sites return to normal and all hats disappear. This is meant to be a fun end-of-year celebration, not a permanent addition to the SE Network.

Having the hats be a temporary feature makes sense, but it would be neat to have some way to save them for personal use - e.g., an export option, or even just keeping the Winter Bash site up in read-only mode.


Bring back the Christmas hat. And why not make it more interesting by adding a Grinch counterpart hat?

So just like the sun and moon, you can either get a Santa face mask or a Grinch face mask hat, not both.

Based on action on Christmas day:

Reopen 3 questions successfully without mod power - Santa face mask hat

Close 3 questions successfully without mod power - Grinch face mask

  • They rotate the hats every year, so pretty sure next year there will be Christmas hat instead of Hanukah hat anyway. Commented Dec 28, 2022 at 9:54
  • @ShadowWizardChasingStars I am suggesting to make it either/or hat. Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 18:35
  • Not sure what you mean, it's already a hat. Just not given every year. Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 10:41

Please add editing to the list of actions that get hats for participation on a specific day.

The current list: "Post a question, answer, vote, or comment"

Editing can be just as valuable to the system as any of the current actions in the list. And when going through items on the new questions page of SO, I personally find myself editing more frequently than I do doing anything else (commenting is a runner up to that position).


I liked the Flagging and Unflagging hats, I believe some variant of those should be kept as it encourages people to do some form of flagging (the name gives the hint) and that helps remove fluff and stuff from Stack Overflow.


I suggest a hat that is shaped like the Hat (the recently discovered aperiodic monotile):

Hat shaped like the Hat

  • What would this hat be awarded for? Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 5:06
  • 2
    Hats maybe. Hats all the way down Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 5:34
  • 4
    @ElementsinSpace: Some irregular activity.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 7:42

Which hats should be kept?

I really think the Squared Away and Cubed Away hats should be kept. They are very challenging, plus they motivate users to ask and answer on multiple Stack Exchange sites. Cubed Away require users to ask questions on different Stack Exchange sites too, which is quite difficult to do.

  • 6
    I don't think I've ever posted 4 Qs in a month (except to report bugs on MSE)... I like the concept of encouraging posts on different sites, but 4 questions or answers seems like a lot.
    – bad_coder
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 22:12
  • 3
    For questions it would be a lot but answers seems reasonable to me.
    – Mary
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 0:12

Do we want more secret hats?

Secret hats are the greatest challenge and most fun in the game. So yes, the more the merrier (well saying that: the total hat count shouldn't go over 50, IMO). Mix easy hat triggers with intermediate and difficult ones.

Do we want more secret hats that don't get triggered until long after the start of Winter Bash?

I'm not opposed to this concept, but make it possible that during at least 70% of WB those triggers still can be activated


Bring back the "Defender of the Unicorn" game, last year it looked fun. I’d have never figured it out, but it looked fun.

  • 1
    I've edited your question, mentioning the game's name. feel free to roll my edit back, if you don't agree with it
    – Vickel
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 18:51
  • 1
    @Vickel That’s fine, the edit is good. I just didn’t want to assume that a game with the same name would be the one wanted.
    – Boots
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 19:01
  • 4
    ... OK.
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 19:49

Which hats should be retired?

Retire the Everything Everywhere All At Once hat. It doesn't encourage any useful behaviour and anyone can get it by upvoting some 10 random answers under one of these 72k+ questions on Stack Overflow.


Hat suggestion: "caption provider". Give N posts with images-with-no-alt-text alt-text for those images.

"Giving the alt-text" would be counted by any of the following:

  • Post creation by the post owner, in which case the post is not counted if it gets deleted or closed (to prevent rewarding posts with images that should have used formatted text/tables instead of images)

  • Editing a post by anyone, in which case the alt-text should not be the only change in the edit (to prevent rewarding floods of minor edits).

  • Approving or edit-and-approving of such suggested edits by edit-queue reviewers. This would be to also incentivize reviews (to prevent system load imbalance due to imbalanced incentives).

Hat name idea: A fun / more mysterious name for the hat could be something with "Ally" in it (a pun on a11y ("accessibility")).

Hat picture idea: blindfold.

Related: What percentage of images on SE have a meaningful alt-text?


As expected, I will follow the tradition and repost this once again.

Five years ago animuson, a Stack Exchange employee pointed out how they were bored by the fact that, for 8 years, Winter Bash had been the same thing with different triggers.

As an aside, I would love to hear suggestions from people that have nothing to do with hats. This was the 8th year we've done the same thing with different triggers and to be honest, I turned them off this year because I've gotten kind of bored with the idea. There's got to be something else fun and interesting we can do at the end of the year that isn't just repeating the same thing over and over

They then proposed a radical change: instead of unlockable hats users would earn coins that could be used to buy (random?) hats.

Essentially, have a list of triggers (both public and secret) that award one Stack Exchange Unicoin each. Then have a collection of stuff they can redeem those coins for. Certain items can also be made only available during certain dates, as a way of rotating out what you can redeem for throughout the entire event.

You can read animuson's full proposal here, while my two side proposals can be found here and here.

I doubt Stack Exchange really wants to implement the "gacha" part of these proposal: seed based "generated" hats (think of those gravatar style avatar generation services) isn't a realistic option, and even a "crane game" is probably too much.

Yet the "earn coins, buy hats" suggestion has a lot of merits.

Currently, the Bash event is starting to show its defects:

  • the novelty goes away after the first (few?) days. Most of the secret hats are discovered almost immediately, and the "free4all" date-based hats become just a delusional attempt at keeping the feel of "discovery" ongoing during the entire event
  • many users will look at the hat list on the first day, find a few low-hanging apples that they can get... and call it a day.
  • every single year Stack manages to fail the "GiantRobot of Offense" test: at least one trigger can be influenced by your local Grinch that revels in making users lose their chance at some hats (example: people using downvotes to prevent users from getting Four Ayes)
  • hats are starting to feel like "already seen, already played" content and as a result often the side events get more love than the main one (see the Hat Dash game, the knitting game or even the Save Sparkles hunt).

Whilst detaching the "triggers" from the "hats" won't solve all the problems, it will give the devs more freedom for creativity (maybe we could finally get something for playing the secret chat Asteroid game?). If paired with basic seed-based generation (reminder: balpha is a staff member, he made Unicornify) you could have "infinite" hats, meaning that no one could see all the hats, meaning that there would be an incentive for all users to hunt for hats during all the event, not just the few two days


Which hats should be kept?

Please keep the pirate / X Marks the Spot hat! Arrr

enter image description here

  • Do you know a pirate's favorite letter? Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 17:35
  • 1
    @DanBonachea Pirates are not all the same. I know of at least two different favorite letters.
    – Mary
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 1:19

How about a hat for chat? SE Chat is very much under the radar and the only ways to get there are one link in the hamburger menu, or if someone says [chat] in a comment only, not a post.

Some sites have absolute ghost towns for their chat, with The last message was posted 43 days ago being common.

I'd be sad if chat went the same way as the blogs, so how about a hat for using chat? ....a cHAT, if you will.


Which hats should be retired?

Gaining Four Ayes Four Ayes is tricky. It requires two separate things to go your way:

  • No one down votes you on the 3rd day to block you gaining it on the 4th.
  • Votes tend to come in rapid succession the first couple days and trail off.

If brought back, please modify it:

  • Days with your total up votes + down votes are >0.
  • Only 3 days non-consecutive days.

The K-Pop Light Stick K-Pop Light Stick hat also has an issue. It excludes a lot of smaller sites. So if brought back I'd suggest these changes:

  • A lower threshold of 20 will allow all sites, not just Stackoverflow to gain the hat. I produced a table of the top site, middle site, and bottom site:
Site Posts of 20+ Posts of 100+
Stack Overflow 1,092,330 164,874
ExpressionEngine 40 0
Bioacoustics 35 0
  • Should I have broken these into two answers? Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 20:20
  • "No one down votes you on the 3rd day to block you gaining it on the 4th." I sure hope nobody did that. That's not a valid reason to downvote anything. It violates the "common wisdom" we have of "we vote on posts- not on people".
    – starball
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 7:07

In the past any gold badge did give a gold hat, I would appreciate that to come back. (It is not that hard to visit a site for 100 days to get it, as long as you remember to start in September.) And it was a great hat to see as well.


New suggestions for hats and hat triggers (either regular or secret ones)

Make an AI generate a few. That'll show'em the new community spirit.

  • 2
    Upvoting because it's funny, downvoting because eww. Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 13:52

This was my first Winter Bash! I greatly enjoyed a number of hats.

I suggest keeping all of the following hat for Winter Bash 2023:

Over 9000!, Unflagging, This Is The Way, I'm Okay..., Miranda, Squared Away, and Cubed Away.

Over 9000! Unflagging
These two were difficult for most users to obtain. Over 9000! encouraged discussion which helped to find more bugs related to Winter Bash and even other parts of the site unrelated to WB. Unflagging was very difficult for many to obtain. It took me many days to nail down the trigger and in the process I created new profiles on 3 sites just to pinpoint the trigger.

Both get my aware for challenging hats.
This is the Way I'm Okay...
These were easy hats, but encourage good behavior. This is the way rewards people asking positive questions that get answers. I'm Okay... rewards trying for a bounty with a good answer but not being chosen.
Miranda Squared Away
One easy and one hard. Miranda is another positive hat, rewarding users for doing good deeds by editing posts. Squared Away was also an excellent hat. It has encouraged me to answer more questions on more sites that I have in the past. I've found it difficult to gain, as I have not yet managed to gain this hat.
Cubed Away

The most difficult hat to obtain would be a nice challenge for 2023. It isn't complicated, but requires a great deal of mastery of several subjects.

  • You gave a review, that's not what the question is asking for. Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 9:43
  • 1
    Still, though, I like the review. There are some suggestions buried here, however, @ShadowWizardChasingStars. Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 10:31
  • @ShadowWizardChasingStars Thanks for feedback. I felt this was directly answering the question. I provided a list of hats I felt should return along with my reasoning as to why. What part of it do you think I should edit to help convey my intent better? Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 22:59
  • Sadly no. The point is all the background noise in your answer, aka what I called "review". It might be nice and people even might like it, but that's simply not the place. Maybe start a new thread "Winter Bash Feedback" where you'll ask for exactly this: people to share their experience, what hats they like and why, etc. There's a chance it would get closed though, but might be worth trying. Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 8:14

Make it such that participation on a site brings in more hats and there are fewer hats you can win without participation, so people with zero activity on a particular site can not sit at the top of the leaderboard for that site. This is especially important on small sites where most people have only a few hats. (Or at least, make it multiple day exercises, not a visit one part of the site once to get a hat.) At least one hat should be for new users only (as cookies is this year) so that the people who have accounts on every site can not get all the hats.


Maybe a way to keep the hats after the Winter/Summer Bash ends, but only for people who enable it in their settings.

  • 1
    @RandomPerson no it doesn't exist, but a very popular request that keep appearing every winter bash. Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 7:40
  • @RandomPerson yes, they mean keep the hats after bash (it's not winter anymore, it's both summer bash and winter bash since last year) is over. It's quite obvious the hats stay during the event itself. :) Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 9:02

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