I had put N VA, DC, Baltimore area for my profile location. I just noticed that it had changed to Farmville, VA. Which is like half a state away. In talking with other users, they have noticed similar occurrences. Has the system gone to some new, automated locater? If so, it seems to be doing some weird things.

Iain reports his

"changed to something like Liverpool, UK from Wirral UK recently too."

And Chopper3's

"changed to England, United Kingdom"

So I'm genuinely curious at this point.

  • 1
    How about that. I didn't even notice there was a new location field Commented Apr 30, 2011 at 3:13
  • 1
    FWIW, mine hasn't changed and the location field still looks as it always has. Commented Apr 30, 2011 at 6:58
  • 2
    There was a big hoo-har on MSO about this. Gory Details. Commented Apr 30, 2011 at 10:17
  • You know, I'm finding that I'm noticing things way later than a lot of other people. Kind of like the slow kid at the front of the bus who doesn't know what's going on. Commented Apr 30, 2011 at 14:16
  • @Ben, you should make that comment an answer. Commented May 1, 2011 at 7:11

1 Answer 1


Reading this Meta Stack Overflow post, it seems the Stack Exchange team did a one time best guess at your actual location using a Yahoo location service and if it found a match from what was currently in your profile, it updated it to a "proper" formatted place. If no match was found though, it left it as it was.

I'm not sure how it got Liverpool from Wirral since that seems to return The Wirral as expected, but it looks like the Stack Exchange team did something extra because if you put my location (East Angular, United Kingdom) you get back a result, but my location was not changed. This is only a guess, but the team may have a threshold on the <quality> XML tag that is returned, since mine is only 9 but Iain's is relatively high at 63.

The Stack Exchange team made it pretty clear that this was a one time update, and if your location was incorrectly changed you are free to change it back and it will not be altered again.

I would have posted this yesterday, but I was on my iPhone and adding answers is a bit more difficult on that, hence just the comment.

  • Now you mention it it did say The Wirral and not Liverpool. I just remembered it being something that I wouldn't use. I live in Wirral or on the Wirral peninsula and definitely not Liverpool.
    – user9517
    Commented May 1, 2011 at 14:45

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