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I noticed that the Stackexchange sites are having a Winter Bash, and one of my friends recieved a hat on MSE. Why isn't this on MO? It'll be fun to have something like that here, wouldn't it? (I suspect this is because MO doesn't have a ".stackexchange.com" in its address, but I could be wrong.)

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    $\begingroup$ "wouldn't it?" No, it wouldn't. $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Dec 16 '14 at 1:36
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    $\begingroup$ I think it would be fun! But we'd need to make sure that there is a Grinch hat, given for fast closing of questions or something like that. :-) (Sorry, Andres! I couldn't resist) $\endgroup$ – Joel David Hamkins Dec 16 '14 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ @AndresCaicedo Wrong. It would. HATZ!!!! $\endgroup$ – nicael Dec 16 '14 at 17:59
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    $\begingroup$ @nicael: For a user that contributed absolutely nothing to this website, I'd say that you're probably wrong and Andres is right. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 16 '14 at 21:46
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    $\begingroup$ You don't have to be "a serious professor" to dislike these things. I enjoy plenty of nonsensical shenanigans, but not this sort of "funtime activity". And please stop writing "hatz". 1337z0r sp33k ist ub3rk00l, amirite? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 16 '14 at 21:53
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    $\begingroup$ It seems to me that it could be useful if the decision of hats or no hats (including whether to display other users’ hats) were up to the user, not the site. This would solve both the problem that some users here want them and some don’t, and the inconsistency that someone’s hard-earned hats vanish when moving across sites. $\endgroup$ – Emil Jeřábek Dec 16 '14 at 22:14
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    $\begingroup$ Oh. As I learned on meta.stackexchange.com/a/245191 , it actually already works that way, except that a site may also choose to veto all hat activity altogether. So the question is whether it would be acceptable for MO to move to the less strict “the site has hats, but they’re off by default” category. $\endgroup$ – Emil Jeřábek Dec 16 '14 at 23:33
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    $\begingroup$ Hats? I've seen this before. Isn't it where we all wear hats and then at the end of 100 days all commit suicide because of induction? (I may possibly be thinking of something else) $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi Dec 17 '14 at 21:01
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    $\begingroup$ My personal (rather neutral) stance about "hats" can be seen on other metas; I just want to point out that also having hats of by default can have consequence for the site in general, as some users might do (potentially disruptive) things to get a hat. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Dec 18 '14 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ What certain people in certain countries or regions may like, can easily put off many others with different backgrounds. Given this, I think it is wise that MO as a serious site with a global userbase does not participate in the event discussed here. $\endgroup$ – Stefan Kohl Dec 18 '14 at 20:42
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    $\begingroup$ @quid: It seems that this behavior happens either way; it's best not to give it any positive reinforcements in the form of hats. The only hats on this site should be \hat and \widehat. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 19 '14 at 6:36
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe we need to forbid them, too. Please @Asaf do not start signing your posts with $$\huge{\widehat{\text{Asaf}}}$$ $\endgroup$ – user9072 Dec 19 '14 at 10:15
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    $\begingroup$ @quid, very well. $$\qquad \Huge\widehat{\scr A\frak saf}$$ $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 19 '14 at 12:04
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    $\begingroup$ @quid and Asaf Karagila, this is why I come here, for silly fun times. $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Dec 20 '14 at 11:43
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    $\begingroup$ There are other sites that are not really less serious that do have it. It was not an unreasonable question to ask. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Dec 25 '14 at 14:10
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Somewhat before the start of the Winter Bash, the SE team contacts the per-site moderators to ask if the site wants to participate in the event or not (this year the default assumption being that the site participates, differing from last year's practice).

The reason that MO does not participate is (almost surely) that its moderators decided the site does not want to participate and communicated this decision to SE. Note that also last year MO did not participate for reasons along the lines given above. This has nothing to do with the domain name; stackoverflow.com has hats while a site with URL [something].stackexchange.com domain might not have them (I did not search for an example, but as explained at the start it would be possible).

To sum this up: on the technical side there is no issue at all, MO could have hats; it was simply decided against having them for this year.

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  • $\begingroup$ The last sentence is incorrect. Each site has a choice between opt-in, out-out, or nothing. $\endgroup$ – Emil Jeřábek Dec 17 '14 at 11:59
  • $\begingroup$ In which precise way is the last sentence incorrect. What is "nothing" supposed to mean? In some sense, the information I gave concerns exactly the case when nothing is done by a site. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Dec 17 '14 at 12:29
  • $\begingroup$ You claim that the event is opt-out. This is not true. On some (most) sites it is opt-out, on some sites it is opt-in, and some sites do not participate at all. This is a three-way choice made by the moderators of the site. See meta.stackexchange.com/a/245191 . $\endgroup$ – Emil Jeřábek Dec 17 '14 at 12:36
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    $\begingroup$ My entire post is about the event on a per site basis (that is the concerned entity is "the site"), and so is this last sentence. The event for a site was opt-out in that a non-reply of its moderators would have been taken as a "yes, the site participates" (as opposed to a "no" like it was last year). What happens on a site on a per user basis is a different question that I did not mean to address at all. Anyway, thank you for pointing out the risk for confusion, I will update the post later to make clear what I meant, and psssibly give the additional you provide. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Dec 17 '14 at 12:43
  • $\begingroup$ I see. Thanks for the clarification. $\endgroup$ – Emil Jeřábek Dec 17 '14 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot for the clarification! $\endgroup$ – user62675 Dec 19 '14 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ You should ask everybody, shouldn't you? As for me, I would not mind participating (except that they don't have the only one I would choose - "I never wear any hats"). $\endgroup$ – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე Dec 20 '14 at 8:59
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    $\begingroup$ @მამუკაჯიბლაძე I am not sure why you post this comment here. Are you telling this to me? (I did not decide anything here; you might talk to the moderators about it, i.e. ask on the other answer.) Or are you asking my opinion? (I think the way the decision was made was reasonable, I have no objection at all. Where I did decide on this I asked the community; but also that community is much newer so its preferences were less clear in advance.) $\endgroup$ – user9072 Dec 20 '14 at 12:15
  • $\begingroup$ @quid Sorry you are right, I should rather place this comment after Todd's answer. But this is more a joke than anything else anyway... $\endgroup$ – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე Dec 20 '14 at 12:27
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I'll just add that quid is correct. The moderators were asked in 2013 whether MO wanted to participate in Winter Bash, and we declined. We thought it would not be wise, as it would be sure to turn off some of our esteemed users who do not come here for silly fun times. We were invited again this year by the StackExchange team, who essentially asked "we don't suppose you've changed your minds, have you?" and we of course said 'no'.

Some of the comments below the question seem to corroborate our suspicions which led to our decision.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot for the clarification! $\endgroup$ – user62675 Dec 19 '14 at 15:16
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    $\begingroup$ I am now considering adding "I do not come here for silly fun times" to my profile :) $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi Dec 19 '14 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ I can't say that I don't come here (and MSE) for silly fun times. But I can say that the hats are not fun. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 19 '14 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ I think we can also safely infer that Joel David Hamkins likes hats: unomaha.edu/logic/pictures/rutgers05/dsc01854_lar.jpg $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Dec 19 '14 at 18:39
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    $\begingroup$ Awesomeeeeeeeeeee! $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 19 '14 at 20:26
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Yes, it has to be said that it's a pretty bad-ass hat. Sort of reminds me of the hats worn by Polish set theorists circa 1925, as in this photo: apprendre-math.info/history/photos/Mazur_Ulam.jpeg $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Dec 19 '14 at 20:45
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    $\begingroup$ To me the overall outfit reminds the angels from the lovely movie, "The Adjustment Bureau". $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 19 '14 at 20:48
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I like the winter Bash, and several years ago I was even a champion in terms of numbers of hats in the TCS sister site. But I can understand that some mathematicians do not share my enthusiasm. It took decades to have an analog of Nobel prize in mathematics so it may take decades (if at all) for winter bash to be embraced on MO.

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    $\begingroup$ There is (was?) a Vinter stadium in Beer-Sheva, which could be treated as a וינטר ב"ש, if one is so inclined. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 25 '14 at 8:34
  • $\begingroup$ Only 5 hats so far...as a former champion?! I am a newcomer and have already twice as many. :-) $\endgroup$ – user9072 Dec 25 '14 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ congratulations, quid! $\endgroup$ – Gil Kalai Dec 25 '14 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ Somehow it would not have occurred to me to compare Winter Bash to the Fields Medal. ;-) $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Dec 25 '14 at 17:57

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