The great 2016-2017 Hat-a-thon is off to a roaring start. We are currently sitting at 18th (your mileage may vary, depending on when you click the link), which is really great considering that we are 67th in overall traffic.

But let us not be content with punching above our weight class. To truly attract the attention of the masses, we need a rival.

My original thought was that Sci-Fi and Fantasy would be a perfect rival, given that they are un-imaginative folks who would prefer to use someone else's world instead of making their own. Unfortunately, they are more than twice ahead of us in hatted-ness, so it would be unwise to start this fight. That is like declaring Alabama, the Patriots, or Barcelona as your rival. No thanks.

Next, I was looking into some of the other sites that are somewhat related to Worldbuilding and near (read: just below) us on the hat leaderboard. Physics seems like a good one . . . we have plenty of physics too and ours is much more interesting, if less correct, than theirs. Or maybe Arqade.

But then I stumbled onto the perfect answer: The Workplace! Because about 80% of my Worldbuilding time is being billed to my workplace it just seems fitting.

Any ideas or opinions on who should be our rival?

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    $\begingroup$ I suggest not Sci-fi as many of our users are also sci-fi users. I'd definitely think we could thrash physics if we try. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ If we're going to power game for hats then we'll have to have a thread listing how to get each of the secret hats. As it stands we don't even have Just Here for the Hat and even ELL has that. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ Workplace? Holy conflict of interest, man! :-) (Says a mod on both sites...) $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ We now have Just Here for the Hat so up to 11th :) $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ We're actually only a couple of spots behind SF&F :p $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 20:24
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    $\begingroup$ By the way, we're now at #9, although threatened by Stack Overflow на русском and The Workplace, as well as TeX - LaTeX and Physics. They need to go. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 22:23
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    $\begingroup$ Because about 80% of my Worldbuilding time is being billed to my workplace <--- I'm pretty sure this is true for nearly everyone on the Stack Exchange network... :-) $\endgroup$
    – enderland
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ Space Exploration. I love 'em, but their answers are smart and perfect; and lack the imagination we use* so they stand to be challenged by us. (* many of them are on worldbuilding, so it's a bit tongue-in-cheek). $\endgroup$
    – Mikey
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 3:10

1 Answer 1


That, my child, goes back to an old story, long before your time.

Much that once was is lost. For none now live who remember it.

It began with the forging of the great hats. Three were given to the world builders, immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings. Seven to the science fiction aficionados, great imaginers and craftsmen of the most brilliant books and movies. And nine, nine hats were gifted to the writers — who above all else, desire a good story.

For within these hats was bound the strength and will to govern each site. But they were all of them deceived, for another hat was made. In the land of Stack Overflow, in the fires of the first Winter Bash, the Dark Lord Shog9 forged in secret a master hat, to control all others. And into this Hat, he poured his brilliance, his sarcasm, and his will to dominate all sites. One Hat to rule them all.

One by one, the free sites of Stack Exchange fell to the power of the Hat. But there were some who resisted. A last alliance of Writers and Worldbuilders marched against the armies of Stack Overflow, and on the slopes of Mount Winter Bash they fought for the freedom of Stack Exchange.

Victory was near. But the power of the Hat could not be undone.

It was in this moment, when all hope had faded, that Monica Cellio, moderator of both sites, took up her father's pen.

Shog9, the enemy of the free-peoples of Stack Exchange, was defeated. The Hat passed to Monica, who had this one chance to destroy evil forever. But the hearts of Writers are easily corrupted. And the Hat of Power has a will of its own. It betrayed Monica . . . to her election1.

And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend, legend became myth, and for three years, the Hat passed out of all knowledge. Until, when chance came, it ensnared a new bearer.

The Hat came to the world builder Tim B2, who took it deep into the hard drives of his computer. And there, it consumed him.

The Hat brought to Tim B unnatural popular questions and answers. For one year it poisoned his posts. And in the gloom of Tim B's computer, it waited. Darkness crept back into the chat rooms of the world. Rumor grew of a shadow in Meta Stack Exchange, whispers of a nameless fear, and the Hat of Power perceived its time had now come. It abandoned Tim B.

But something happened then the Hat did not intend. It was picked up by the most unlikely creature imaginable.

A teenager: HDE 226868 of Physics Stack Exchange.

For the time will soon come when teenagers will shape the fortunes of all.

Therefore, Stack Overflow (and Shog9) is clearly our arch-rival, and I see that they're only ahead of us by . . . over 118,328 hats.

1 Okay, she won, but I have to include that in. Otherwise the story isn't as good.
2 Apologies also to Tim B. I don't really think that you're Gollum.

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    $\begingroup$ Bahahahahahahahahahaha...ha $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 22:19
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    $\begingroup$ BRB. Cleaning tea off of my monitor. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 22:21
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    $\begingroup$ "the science fiction aficionados" with a link to Engineering SE? I'm deeply offended! :-P $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor Shh. . . Nobody will notice. Actually, those were originally dwarves, and I made the swap dwarves $\to$ engineers, which seemed obvious, but then I decided that SF&F fit in better . . . and forgot to change the link. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ I noticed, but I assumed it was intentional. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 23:23
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    $\begingroup$ "hats ... and nine rings ..." (emphasis mine)? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ That is absolutely hilarious $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 20:22
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    $\begingroup$ I'm reading this half a year later and I'm glad I wasn't drinking something as I read this =D $\endgroup$
    – auden
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 0:21
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 . . . .To echo what everyone else must be wondering . . . who is this version's Legolas? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 0:39
  • $\begingroup$ This had got to be the funniest thing on meta. The first paragraph should mention Atwood, though. $\endgroup$
    – John Locke
    Commented Oct 7, 2018 at 2:10
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnLocke You know, I considered that, but since Jeff had left the company before Worldbuilding was launched, I decided to leave him out. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 I must not have been on Stack Exchange at that time, because I assumed he was still at the company because I saw his blog posts. $\endgroup$
    – John Locke
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnLocke Ah, yes, he left in 2012 - a while back - but kept blogging in general, just not officially as part of Stack Overflow. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 Yup, way before I joined... Just checked, it's 2 months for SO, 53 days for WB. I'm surprised that it seems so much longer. $\endgroup$
    – John Locke
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 20:11

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