Winter Bash 2015 is under way and EL&U is taking part.

Should we turn this whole hat malarkey off for the whole site, and we can concentrate on the finer points of the English instead?

As always on meta: an upvote indicates agreement, and a downvote disagreement.

  • 9
    Is there some sort of hat for posting on meta? – Matt E. Эллен Dec 16 '15 at 7:32
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    I'll confirm or not when this question has 5 upvotes and 5 downvotes. – Hugo Dec 16 '15 at 7:33
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    @Josh61 - There's most likely a hat in it; it's not a serious question. Clearly he doesn't want to shut down Winterbash on the site; he just wants another hat! We all want hats. If you want to help him get a hat, upvote or downvote him. He needs five of both. – anongoodnurse Dec 16 '15 at 9:08
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    @Hugo - I'm holding you personally responsible if this is misleading! (In other words, as with a dictionary, I can't be bothered to look this up!) Btw, -1. – anongoodnurse Dec 16 '15 at 9:55
  • @MattE.Эллен Got the monkey-face hat when this hit +5 and -5! The same can happen too for your answers below! – Hugo Dec 16 '15 at 17:31
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    I think Hugo has got his eye on the Master of the Divisions hat, which is awarded to whoever posts the meta question with a net score of 0 concealing the highest total upvotes and downvotes. Some folk might say the question is polarizing. Others might say it's stirring the sh*t. – FumbleFingers Dec 17 '15 at 22:39

16 Answers 16


Haters gonna hate. Hatters gonna hat.

  • 3
    Well said. Or poorly said. Maybe 6 of one, half dozen of the other. – Kit Z. Fox Dec 18 '15 at 15:58
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    There, that should take care of the cornbread. (At least as far as a certain hat is concerned.) – Marthaª Dec 22 '15 at 2:46
  • Whoa! Thanks @Marthaª! :D – cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Dec 22 '15 at 18:54

Speaking as a non-mod, I think hats should stay all year. They should never go away and users should be able to wear all their hats at once, even if it's ridiculously breaking with metaphor.

  • Metaphor? I have a head cold. – Mitch Dec 16 '15 at 15:23
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    @Mitch What's a metaphor? It's phor discussing hats, I guess. – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Dec 16 '15 at 15:28
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    That's a pun, not a metaphor. Also, if we have hats all year we won't appreciate them as much. – Mitch Dec 16 '15 at 15:52
  • We appreciate rep and it's always here. Maybe if instead of "badges" we had hats that changed over time, it would encourage users to collect them all... "This year there are 52 hats for silver badges, one per week. Try to get them all!" That sort of thing. – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Dec 16 '15 at 16:00
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    We don't have meta phor discussing hats, it's phor discussing real issues! ;-) – Rand al'Thor Dec 21 '15 at 0:38
  • I've never metaphor I didn't like. But then, I've never met a phor at all. – Hot Licks Dec 28 '15 at 22:29

While there is obviously a hat in the offing for the question, I'll provide an answer anyway.

Hats are supposed to be an additional gamification encouraging good practices and behaviour. If hats simply provide a reason to post straw-man questions, or change one or two characters in a post (which bumps the thread to the top of the active list), then that is not promoting useful practice and yes, hats should be turned off.

Bah, hatbug.

  • 2
    Well, some hats do encourage bad behavior. It's inevitable. – anongoodnurse Dec 16 '15 at 9:56
  • Seems like more of a mask, but this down vote should get you that monkey hat. – Minnow Dec 17 '15 at 1:44
  • @Andrew - That hat fits you disturbingly well. Now I'm curious as to how your other hats looked on you. – anongoodnurse Dec 22 '15 at 16:01
  • Eeeehhh... I'm not really convinced that (the overwhelming majority) of this crowd run that way. (Though granted I've seen all types here from the erudite and easy going the the self absorbed and so tightly wound that you can hear the ticking from the other side of the screen, so one should not generalise.) However I'd say that most regulars that I've seen here have an affinity for English that sits somewhere between a genuine interest in and a complete love for the language. I don't buy that they'd trivialise the question base just to get a hat. Your mileage may vary. – Alan K Dec 23 '15 at 8:43

While I naturally agree with my esteemed colleague, EL&U is well-known for bending the "no fun" rule, especially during the Winter Bash. It certainly encourages us to remember the fun questions from Bashes Past and to post new thoughtful questions and answers that we might just have chatted about in chat otherwise.

Embrace the hatterdashery! It only lasts a few weeks and helps us through the dark part of the year (in the Northern hemi).


You got the Monkey hat, now it's our turn. So no, we shouldn't throw away the hats, we should embrace them to support the beneficial activity on the site!

enter image description here


There is nothing wrong with a hatocracy. The reason the Greeks did not invent it was because they got stalled at the democracy stage.

  • I agree with you, but you're sadly still lacking in the haberdashery department, so I'm trying to help you along. – Marthaª Dec 22 '15 at 2:47
  • @Marthaa Thanks. I think the Greeks would have arrived at a hatocracy if Alexander had been content with Macedon. Pericles was fond of wearing a helmet. – ab2 Dec 22 '15 at 3:57
  • I wish I could downvote you twice...you could use it! ;-) – Kit Z. Fox Dec 23 '15 at 2:13
  • Such post deserves a downvote. – Vilmar Dec 23 '15 at 8:25

I'm outraged at this flagrant abuse of meta for personal gain! However, I quite like to gain personally, too, so I'd appreciate it if around half of you would agree with my outrage and the other half would be outraged by my outrage.

  • 1
    I just voted to balance it +3/-3. (You can guess which way I voted.) – Hot Licks Dec 28 '15 at 22:28
  • Almost... there.... – Marthaª Dec 30 '15 at 4:57
  • @DavidRicherby: I dunno, but you just need to anger one more such person to get a monkey. (They say it's a hat, but it looks like a monkey to me.) – Marthaª Dec 30 '15 at 15:58
  • Thank you all, hat-helpers! – David Richerby Dec 31 '15 at 17:03

Oh, come on, no one wants hats. Especially the monkey one.


If I had bothered to look it up, I might have known all I had to do was answer this to get a monkey hat. D'oh! Chimpanzee grooming is often a one-way street; luckily humans are more fair minded. :)

  • I'm happy to give you your final upvote. – wythagoras Dec 22 '15 at 20:51
  • @wythagoras - Thank you! – anongoodnurse Dec 22 '15 at 21:28
  • @wythagoras - Wow! I just saw this is your first comment, too. I am grateful indeed. :) – anongoodnurse Dec 22 '15 at 21:40
  • I only did it because I got a badge for it (just kidding). I rarely visit a meta of a site I'm not really active in, but when I saw this post, I just had to visit it. (Actually I didn't get a badge for it, I've upvoted earlier on this meta) – wythagoras Dec 23 '15 at 17:14

I don't normally post "me-too" answers, but I agree with everyone who says we should keep the hats and revel in a turn-of-the-millennium fashion while it is possible to do so.

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    I think you could use a few more downvotes. – Kit Z. Fox Dec 22 '15 at 15:47
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    Perhaps I should change my post to "get off my lawn, you rotten brats, and take your filthy hats with you". – Hellion Dec 22 '15 at 16:12

It's all about the monkey, the monkey! Personally, I prefer Hugo's fetching purple onion hat. I keep checking for tips on getting these coveted "secret" hats but I have not seen anything yet! Please strongly agree or disagree with me if you think that purple onion is the finest hat out there in "Winter Bash 2015"! Thank you!


So lemme get this straight. The only way I'm gonna get to throw this hat into the ring is if I can write a sufficiently polarizing post?

Jacob Rees-Mogg for President!


The monkey hat scares me. And it's not really a hat anyway.

I think the monkey hat should be banned.

(but I still want one, just to get my hat tally up...)


You got the monkey hat! Hat's off to you!

doffs cap; dons it again

  • Nice answer! +1! – anongoodnurse Dec 17 '15 at 5:54
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    @medica - Oh, if only someone would disagree with you, and downvote me on this! – J.R. Dec 21 '15 at 19:41
  • There you go, @J.R.. :) – Marthaª Dec 22 '15 at 2:44

I hate downvoting without giving a reason, so the only reason I downvoted here was "you told me to" in order to vote on the question.

I would not consider myself to be a fanHATic (sorry), but I think that seasonal hats introduce a (possibly needed) bit of levity here. It could be possible to take this site too seriously sometimes, and as long as it doesn't interfere with the site's core purpose (which I don't think hats do) a bit of humour now and then can make this a more accessible and enjoyable place to be for users of all levels. (Almost all levels.) That's to everyone's benefit if ELU specifically and SE in general is to thrive.

  • HAH! Downvote me all you want, I just got a hat out of it!! Oh wait, that was from my upvote in another thread. another thread. Never mind. – Alan K Dec 23 '15 at 8:40
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    I too hate downvoting without giving a reason. My reason is that I read selected words from your post, which said "I hate [...] hats [...]." – AndyT Dec 23 '15 at 9:30
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    @AndyT: No, no, you have it all around the wrong way! I'm sure I said "I hat [...] hate"! Or it may have been "I heat [...] hate". It's summer here at the moment and sometimes it's far too hot and humid to have my keyboard enunciate clearly, especially as I type with a regional accent. – Alan K Dec 23 '15 at 9:45

I can't figure out how to get the Onion Knight hat, my answer on SE meta became a c-w post on 23rd, which messed up my theory. The next day, it was deleted. Actually all the answers submitted to the Winterbash question were deleted. So, I can't complain... well, allow me to sniff and shed a tear.

So, I'm trying to test it elsewhere, but without luck...

Ha! Double ha! I may not have the burgundy balaclava but I have the mutiny hat, *Edward Edwards, 'tis even more gallant and rarer than the Onion Knight one.

If you disagree, please downvote. If you agree, then upvote.

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