In 2011, the Gaming Stack Exchange hosted an event called Hat Dash, where users earned "hats" for their gravatars by completing certain tasks (analogous to badges):

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Certain actions would trigger the user receiving a hat, which their gravatar could then "wear". For example, editing a post would yield an editor-themed hat (fedora with pen) to the editor.

This year, Stack Exchange is expanding the promotion to any site that wants to participate.

Here's the run down:

  • The event will run from 19 December 2012 to 4 January 2013.
  • Users will be able to see their entire hat collection on http://winterba.sh. That site will also have a landing page, explaining the rules and other details of the event.
  • Individual users who don’t want to participate, don’t want to see hats, and/or are generally anti-hat will have an "I hate hats" option available..
  • The only visual change to the site itself will be the presence of the hats and the "I hate hats" button in the footer.

We need to let Stack Exchange know by 28 November 2012, so vote away on if you want hats.

Edit: We have opted in. I have sent the opt-in message to Aarthi. For those who don't wish to participate in December, clicking on the "I hate hats" button will remove them from your view.

  • 17
    ...they should totally be white, black, or gray hats
    – ZJR
    Nov 16, 2012 at 2:18
  • ...and one Metaltech hat.
    – Iszi
    Nov 18, 2012 at 17:39
  • 1
    At risk of divulging something from the Teacher's Lounge, I loved this statement: Bowtie is not hat. That's cheating. Actually, neither are sunglasses or headphones! What is this madness!!
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Dec 19, 2012 at 9:35

5 Answers 5


Hats are cool (Dr. Who. Well, he may have just mentioned Fezzes)

  • Dr Who has referred to Fezzes and Stetsons so far. He has yet to wear a hat belonging to another character called Fez :-)
    – Keith
    Dec 12, 2012 at 8:18
  • Ooooh - good pedantry Keith :-)
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Dec 12, 2012 at 8:43

I like hats. Hats are very useful.

  • 2
    they keep your head warm!
    – Aarthi
    Nov 14, 2012 at 15:00
  • 1
    and they're a cure for baldness. If you want to cure it at all.
    – AviD Mod
    Nov 14, 2012 at 15:53
  • @AviD But all the pictures I've seen of you are hatless....
    – Scott Pack
    Nov 14, 2012 at 17:18
  • 2
    Don't wanna cure baldness! Baldness is the cure for hair!
    – AviD Mod
    Nov 14, 2012 at 17:49
  • @AviD should they be soaked in Propecia? ;O
    – Lizz
    Nov 16, 2012 at 10:29
  • @Lizz whaat? No! Don't cure baldness, cure hair!
    – AviD Mod
    Nov 16, 2012 at 11:43
  • @AviD I protest vociferously! My hair is fantastic.
    – Polynomial
    Nov 16, 2012 at 11:44

I know this will be unpopular, but for Sec.se I don't love the idea.
It just feels out of place, here.
Not that we hate fun, it's just making it be too playful. Sure, I could just opt out - but in truth its not the front-page image I think we need to be showing new users right off the bat.

Perhaps in chat...

  • 1
    Killjoy! What if they were security-based hats? :P
    – Polynomial
    Nov 14, 2012 at 23:51
  • 4
    Perhaps an opt-in button instead of an opt-out button?
    – user10211
    Nov 15, 2012 at 5:08
  • I know what you mean about the image thing but I do think that (well in the UK anyway) a level of festive spirit is seen as acceptable/a good thing) Nov 15, 2012 at 14:04
  • 2
    I guess I'm just the grinch then. Drives me mad getting dozens of emails and voicemails just "Wishing me a happy new year". Leave me alone! It's completely arbitrary!
    – AviD Mod
    Nov 15, 2012 at 14:48
  • 3
    Are you sure you don't mean "...showing new users right off the hat?
    – Lizz
    Nov 16, 2012 at 10:31
  • 3
    +1 Hats in chat. It's less formal and requires a certain amount of reputation to participate. (less public) Nov 16, 2012 at 23:11
  • 2
    In my experience, ITSec has a hard time being taken seriously already. I, too, don't love there idea for this forum. Other forums, I'd be for it, but not here.
    – schroeder Mod
    Nov 17, 2012 at 18:43

FWIW I like the idea of hats over the festive season.


Just airing some ideas out (read: not sure how much I agree with these ideas yet):

If we were to promote white, grey, black hats... and those "virtual hats" represent the online persona/intention of a given user, I wonder how that would affect the perception of this site.

Here is a fictional example: Suppose everyone chose a black hat. A newcomer to this site would make certain assumptions about this site in regards to the legality of the content here. This is something that most corporate IT Security shops would be wary of.

Alternatively, if the dominant selection was a hat of a given color, then the lines of the community would be more clearly drawn. Some online pseudonyms would get singled out for their intention (or playful affiliation). Some gut-reaction upvotes or downvotes may occur.

Finally, there is the possibility for a user who selects "white hat" to appear more trusted to less knowledgeable users. This malicious answerer could propagate links to malware or convey invalid information.

All in all, I feel a sense of irony talking about these social "hacking" techniques on a website dedicated to IT Sec. ;)

That being said; happy holidays everyone, and I wish your loved ones a plethora of hats this holiday season.

  • 2
    Heh - the expectation is not that we will be able to choose hats, but that certain hats would be awarded for certain things (and the odds of getting Sec.SE specific ones in time for this event is effectively nil)
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Nov 17, 2012 at 10:03
  • 1
    If someone is going to rate answers on color of the hat on the avatar below that answer, that he has much bigger problems then one in asked question...
    – StupidOne
    Nov 21, 2012 at 12:07
  • Only the same problems that the rest of the Internet does, namely that the vast majority of people have incredible tunnel vision when it comes to online information. It's a valid concern, even if most of us don't consider it to be major. Nov 21, 2012 at 14:11
  • @JonathanGarber My bet is 8/10 people won't even notice the avatar. Profile of people who would come to this site to seek help is not really like the one of the avarge Joe. Plus, it would be on for...? 2 weeks top? It wouldn't make any greater disturbance in the Force.
    – StupidOne
    Nov 23, 2012 at 15:18

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