Say Farewell to Winter Bash 2016!

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Another year has ended, and with that, it's time to put all the hats back in their boxes. Winter Bash 2016 has come to an end! Over past three weeks, we've had ups and downs (err bugs) with hats, but overall, it was a massive success. It appeared that there was fun to be had, and, wow, the hats looked hat-tastic on everyone.

Time for a Fashion Show

We saw many creative ways to wear hats, but here are a few of our favorites:

Some of our Faves

Some Stats about Hats!

This year, 215,960 users earned a total of 797,074 hats! The most awarded hat was our version of a participation trophy, Just Here for the Hat. This hat was awarded to all Winter Bash users on a site, once any 20 hats were unlocked on that site. A total of 269,016 of them were handed out across the network to 214,457 unique users. Some people wore the hat brilliantly:

Just Here for the Hat

Stack Overflow was the first site to unlock it. They were also able to get the hat less than 8 hours into the fun, with only 6 users. A big congratulations goes out to Language Learning, as it only took 2 users to unlock the hat, with one user having 18 of the distinct hats. In comparison, it took 11 users to unlock the hat on Software Recommendations, which was quite a team effort. All in all, 108 communities earned the trophy hat. The next most common hat was I Have A Little Dreidel. It was awarded 146,403 times to 116,462 users. Because it was awarded an entire week of Winter Bash for participating on a site during any day of Chanukah, most everyone had a chance to earn it.

I Have A Little Dreidel

Many of the other time-based hats were the most common across the network: Epiphany (68,013 times to 58,157 users), Mmmm Bacon (54,058 times to 45,749 users), Bûche de Noël (33,925 times to 28,770 users), and First Responder (605 times to 508 users).

Time Based Hats

The silver badge hat, 925, was handed out 54,023 times to 50,954 users. We already knew earning a gold badge was difficult, which made the gold badge hat a bit harder to earn. 24 was awarded 9,488 times to 9,266 users. Just like previous years, we had a few hats for using the mobile applications: Cutting the Cord (2,456 times to 1,932 users), and Loungin’ Around (109 times to 104 users). This year, was the first year we introduced some site-specific hats. Stack Overflow has two products, Developer Story and Documentation, which are not available on the rest of the network, so we awarded hats for participating in them. The NeverEnding Story hat was awarded to 5,263 users, and What’s Up, Doc? was awarded to 3,246 users. In order to offset the Stack Overflow only hats, we created two hats that were available on the rest of the network. To earn Polymath (1,934 times to 516 users) and Running Ragged (256 times to 80 users) you needed to run ragged across multiple sites, showing off your knowledge in more than one area.

Site Specific Hats

The most difficult non-secret hat to earn was Maverick, which was awarded only to 17 users. This hat required users to post an answer to a -3 question, that went to +3 after the answer was posted. Many tried to get the hat, but obviously this wasn't as easy as it appeared. The trigger was modeled after the Red Baron hat in 2014 which there are still ongoing discussions around turning into a badge.

Time to Spill the Secrets About Hats

We switched things up this year when it came to secret hats. In the past, users could guess the triggers for a hat, and if correct, and the first to guess it, another hat was awarded. This year, even though hats were not awarded for guessing the triggers, that didn't stop you from guessing or even asking. Some of the guesses were accurate, others not so much. But without further ado, here are the secret hat details (and some more stats). There were a total of 14 secret hats (assuming you count both the sun and moon version of Where In The World? separately), which totaled 42 hats again, this year. Of course, the most you could earn was 41, since it was impossible to have both the sun and moon hat. The most common secret hat was the solstice hat for participating on December 21, 2016. The Where In the World? Sun hat was awarded 39,078 times to 33,341 users, while the Moon version was awarded 35,784 times to 30,209 users. This was similar to last year's Flip Flop hat, but Sklivvz got creative in how randomness was assigned.

Where In the World

The first secret hat awarded was This Is Fine. It was awarded to Jake on Stack Overflow less than 30 minutes into Winter Bash on December 19th. The community accurately guessed this was awarded if you have an upvoted answer on a question with a bounty, but you didn't win the bounty. This hat was awarded 965 times to 958 users.

This Is Fine

The next secret hat discovered (and accurately guessed by the community) was 180°. It was earned by ColleenV on English Language Learners less than an hour into Winter Bash. In order to get this hat, you needed to vote to close a question, edit it while it was closed, and then vote to reopen...basically you did a 180° on the post. A total of 186 users earned this hat 188 times.


Less than 10 minutes later, Don't Wanna Taco 'Bout It was triggered by users who edited or suggested an edit to 5 posts in a single UTC day, without commenting on the post. The very first user to get the hat was Jamal on Code Review. In the end, it was awarded to 1,111 users 1,177 times.

Don't Wanna Taco 'Bout It

Elementary was the next secret hat awarded. Elementary was handed out when users edited 5 questions that were posted more than a year ago. A total of 466 users earned this hat 506 times, with Kris Roofe on Stack Overflow, being the first.


Two more secret hats, 6 (3,293 times to 3,193 users) and 8,243,721 (354 times to 338 users) were earned by commenting and then cleaning up after yourself. The first hat, 6 aka Bert, was earned if 6 posts were edited by the owner after you commented on them. The second hat, 8,243,721 aka Ernie, was awarded by deleting 6 comments from under posts (not your own), that were edited by their owners after you commented on them. These two hats worked hand in hand. If you commented on 6 posts, the owner edited them, and you deleted the comments, you'd earn both hats. Jaromanda X was the first to earn 6 on Stack Overflow, with TypoCube™ being the first to earn 8,243,721 on Database Administrators.

Bert & Ernie

Also awarded on the opening day of Winter Bash was my personal favorite, Blue In the Face. Users earned this hat by talking so much you were blue in the face. In other words, by posting 10 comments that earned an upvote. It was first given out to rmaddy on Stack Overflow. Overall, it was earned 2,660 times by 2,523 users. It took a few days, but the community eventually guessed this trigger.

Blue in the Face

Even though it was discovered on the first day of Winter Bash, the rarest secret hat was TheyLive. It was only awarded to 133 users. To get this hat, you needed to head into the suggested edit review queue and either "Improve Edit" or "Reject and Edit" 5 times. The hat was a zombie head because the edit lived on through your improvement of the post. Emile Bergeron on Stack Overflow was the first to get the hat.


The community accurately guessed Mild Mannered, the last secret hat found on the first day of Winter Bash. Users earned this hat by posting an answer that got accepted, but received no other votes for 12 hours. In the end, this was awarded 7,299 times to 7,180 users.

Mild Mannered

On third day of Winter Bash, The Hatter was awarded. This threw people for a loop because it was seen so late after the start of hats (the lateness that was due to a bug we found). This was awarded when a user posted a positively scored question at 6:00pm in any timezone. 6:00pm was chosen because it's the time the hatter and the March Hare are stuck at. It was given out 3,761 times to 3,715 users. Once awarded, it didn't take long for users to guess the trigger.

The Hatter

The two remaining secret hats were awarded several days into Winter Bash because they involved performing some act over a period of time. Five days into Winter Bash, Trendsetter appeared. Fashionable users earned the hat by wearing 5 different hats, and by changing their hat using the hat rack on a site, on five different days. Trendsetter was awarded 1,966 times to 1,864 trendy users.


The very last secret hat earned was Like Clockwork. It was awarded if you voted between 3am and 9pm UTC (+/- 9 hours) on nine consecutive days during Winter Bash. Voting like clockwork earned you the hat, and it was earned 1,313 times by 1,211 users.

Like Clockwork

The Hat-Fanatics Leaderboard

Winter Bash is our way to have fun at the end of the year with all our communities. Even though virtual hats have gone away, this post wouldn't be complete without recognizing some of those who went above and beyond to earn all the hats. They are referred to as the Hat-Fanatics! This year we had 4 users who earned the most hats network-wide:


Please join me in congratulating the users who earned all 41 hats across the network:

And with that, it's time to say so long to Winter Bash 2016. We'll be adding more stats about hats on Meta Stack Exchange over next few days. If you have any feedback on this year's event, please chime in on Meta Stack Exchange.

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