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Season’s greetings, GIS Stack Exchange users!

The year is rapidly coming to a close, which means even though we typically hate it, it’s time to have some fun...with hats! That’s right - it’s time for Winter Bash 2016!!

Most of you remember previous years’ events, but here is a quick little reminder. Winter Bash is an annual event that can run on any Stack Exchange site that chooses to participate. Users have fun by earning “hats” for their gravatars by completing certain tasks (very similar to badges). We track everyone’s progress using hats in a leaderboard.

As always, Stack Exchange are coming up with new hat designs for this year’s fun!

The event will run from 19 December 2016 up to and including 08 January 2017. You will be able to see all the hats you’ve earned on http://winterbash2016.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.

While this is meant to be fun, and individual users can opt out as described above, there are some communities who may not want this kind of event on their sites at all. Whenever we have asked GIS SE users if they want our site to participate the response has been an overwhelming YES - see Should GIS participate in the 2014 “Winter Bash”? - so unless someone quickly says in an answer that they do not want GIS SE to participate, and the votes on that quickly outweigh those placed here for the "participate" vote we will let the GIS SE position default to "YES, we will participate".

If, by a major reversal from past years, we decide to opt out, then we moderators need to be in a position to say that to the Community Team by Tuesday, 13 December 2016.

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Homer Simpson says "Yes (participate)" better than I can.

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As GIS users, perhaps we are aware that it's only winter north of the Tropic of Cancer, which is much less than half of the world.

Perhaps the name 'winter bash' is poorly chosen. (And who likes hats anyway)

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