Irrespective of the answer to this question I was surprised to see Saint Lucia hats on the avatars of several members of Mi Yodeya. I was wondering why this option was being presented.

I realize this is part of the general Stack Exchange Winter Bash but from their blog post it seems to indicate that sites have the option to participate or not

Starting right now, when you complete one of 30-odd challenges while logged on a participating site,[emphasis added]

  • Link doesn't work. – Scimonster Dec 15 '14 at 15:01
  • @Scimonster, ah, someone edited it (incorrectly?), I will fix. – user6641 Dec 15 '14 at 15:01
  • @Scimonster meta.stackexchange.com/questions/245260/… – Double AA Dec 15 '14 at 15:02
  • Also worth noting that Yodeyans opted in to this program. – MTL Dec 15 '14 at 15:05
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    It's a couple of pixels on the screen. Some people like it, some people don't. If you don't want it on your avatar, then don't add it. Raising this to the level of lifnei iver or complaining to SE about it is making a mountain out of a molehill. – Popular Isn't Right Dec 16 '14 at 15:44
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    @Bachrach44 I'm sorry if you feel this is complaining. I'm simply asking a question and pointing out possible halachic issues as I see them. You're free to disagree – user6641 Dec 16 '14 at 16:19

This is the first year with a St. Lucia Day themed hat, but there has always been a Christmas themed hat. The mods only allowed hats on Mi Yodeya once it was clear that no one would ever be forced by the system to "put on" a hat they don't want to wear, even momentarily (such as when first winning it or if it is one's only hat). If someone wants to wear a Christmas hat or St. Lucia Day hat, that's between them and God. We're not going to stop it. (Plus it is worth noting that not all of our users are Jewish.) If you don't wants any hats at all, you can opt out individually by clicking "I hate hats".

  • Based on this comment it would seem that not all users are aware that this isn't a Chanukia, this may present a lifnei eiver issue – user6641 Dec 15 '14 at 14:59
  • @user6641 If someone wants to worship Jesus, they don't need Mi Yodeya to do so. No Lifnei Iver. – Double AA Dec 15 '14 at 15:01
  • but if they intend to publicize chanukah and instead publicize a Christian holiday this may cause them embarrassment, especially if they use their real name on the site. – user6641 Dec 15 '14 at 15:05
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    @user6641, I don't think you can activate the hat without seeing the words "Saint Lucia" associated with it at some point. – Isaac Moses Dec 15 '14 at 15:09
  • @IsaacMoses true, but maaseh sh'haya, people missed or didn't understand that. – user6641 Dec 15 '14 at 15:21
  • @user6641 Or didn't care. – Double AA Dec 15 '14 at 15:22
  • That's not what was said in the comment I cited. – user6641 Dec 15 '14 at 15:28
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    @user6641 In that comment the person completely understood what the hat was meant for and chose to wear it anyway. Ie: he didn't care. He attached his own meaning and that was good enough for him. – Double AA Dec 15 '14 at 15:29
  • Also, site opt-in/opt-out for hats is all or nothing; we can't disable selective hats, and in fact don't even know in advance what hats will be available. – Monica Cellio Dec 15 '14 at 16:14
  • @anna ha you missed another typo just a few words later. – Double AA Dec 18 '14 at 1:47

The Santa Lucia hat was my idea and I apologize if it caused any offense. We like to recognize holidays of various traditions that occur around the solstice and the changing of the year on the Gregorian calendar. I have fond memories of Santa Lucia celebrations at the Swedish-American church I grew up in, so I wanted to start Winter Bash with the crown of candles that symbolize light overcoming darkness.

Even though the hat was named after an Sicilian martyr, it wasn't intended to be especially Christian. Outside of regions of Italian and Scandinavian culture, I doubt most people even know who she was. To me, Santa Lucia celebrations are more in line with getting your annual dose of lutefisk than anything religious. But I can certainly see how that would not be the case for someone who didn't grow up the way I did.

We also do a Hanukkah "hat" every year. We've done a menorah and a dreidel in the past. This year, I wanted to dig a little deeper, so I suggested the symbol this year would be gelt. Thanks to timezones and our forgiving hat distribution, you can earn that hat right now.

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    Thanks for explaining where it came from. (I'd never heard of those celebrations, or for that matter Lucia, before.) I suspect some of the confusion is from the number of candles; if you do this one again, maybe either more candles or obviously fewer (with no empty places) would address that? e.g. If it shows 6 evenly-spaced candles, nobody's going to mistake that for a Chanukah menorah, which holds 8+1. – Monica Cellio Dec 15 '14 at 16:17
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    @MonicaCellio: I suppose we could (assuming we repeat the hat), but by coincidence the Swedish tradition is to include nine candles on the crown. Who knows if this was a borrowing from Hanukkah or just a coincidence. – Jon Ericson Dec 15 '14 at 16:24
  • Oh, I didn't know they had a tradition of a specific number. In that case then no, it wouldn't make sense to change that -- you'd be damaging the reference. – Monica Cellio Dec 15 '14 at 16:35
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    I really don't think you have anything to apologize for, and I offer the following suggestion purely in the spirit of improvement at the margins by a very conscientious organization. I think part of what made this come up is that this was the first hat that was readily earnable, so users (myself included) who are reflexively eager to try the new toy ASAP and who aren't SE-worthy enough to have immediately earned another hat may have hat just thrown it on without thinking too much. So, in future Bashes, you might want to consider making the initial "gimme" hat something purely secular. – Isaac Moses Dec 15 '14 at 18:39

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