I received an email today from a Stack Exchange Community Manager:
As another year draws to a close, we wanted to do something fun and lighthearted with our communities, as a way of celebrating the many amazing people who make the sites awesome. So, we’re announcing Winter Bash 2014!
The Gist of it
Thep Winter Bash is an annual event, where users earn “hats” for their gravatars by completing certain tasks (analogous to badges). Certain actions trigger the user receiving a hat, which their gravatar can “wear”.
At the end of the event (Jan 4), all hats will go back into storage.
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 Stack Exchange sites themselves will be the presence of the hats and the “I hate hats” button in the footer.
What we need from you
Participation is optional, so if we happen to be heavily opposed to head-wear we just have to say so.
Thus, please vote on whether you'd like us to take part, and to see a slightly more cheerful Emacs.SE for about a month.
When do we need to know?
The default behavior is that we opt in as of December 1. So: if you're just not into hats and don't think Emacs.SE should be either, cast your straw ballot before the end of November so we can tell the powers that be.
Update: it looks like a hat landslide!
Given the strong opinion as of late-November (31-2), it looks like there's a strong mandate for holiday cheer. We've gone ahead and let the good folks at Stack Exchange know that we're on board for the hats.
Here's a little more info (TL;DR: it starts on December 15, and if you'd like to opt out of the hats, click on the "I hate hats" button in the footer):
This event will run from 15 December 2014 to 4 January 2015. Users will be able to see their entire hat collection on winterbash2014.stackexchange.com. 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. And just like last time, at the end of the event, all hats will go back into storage.
The only visual change to the Stack Exchange sites themselves will be the presence of the hats and the “I hate hats” button in the footer.