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Today I've noticed (though the change may have occurred a while ago) that the location in my profile page on the main site has changed to a location pretty much on the other side of the globe from where I am, which seemed especially odd given the fact that I entered a location manually when I registered to the site.

Has anyone else encountered a similar problem? What can be a reason for it?

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't see a location listed on your profile. What was it before, and what did you see it as today? (The system also does not list you as having ever changed your location.) $\endgroup$ – Qiaochu Yuan Apr 24 '11 at 7:05
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I had this same question, this meta.stackoverflow post answered it for me.

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    $\begingroup$ To echo one of the sentiments in that meta.SO thread: unprompted changes to user profile details are not a very good thing. :( $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Apr 24 '11 at 14:08
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See:

We're doing a best-guess match on locations across the network in an effort to get more consistent location formats for all the users, for example mine would be "Winston-Salem, NC", "City, ST", or "Something, Ontario" for Canada, "London, United Kingdom".

To do this we needed to perform a backfill of locations across the network, but we can't do this instantaneously since we're hitting against Yahoo's API to do this (which would more than likely ban us for a massive hit like that).

It's unfortunate but we will get a few false positives in here...we've reduced that as much as possible and checked many of the matches to ensure the correct location's being returned...but some will slip through, and we apologize for that. In the future this is done from your profile, rather than on the server-side, so whatever location you leave in that field after this we'll respect (but still recommend the match we found on the right optionally).

Of course you are still free to enter whatever you like in your location field -- whether it is valid or not.

We are just using freely available web APIs (Yahoo Geolocation) to help standardize the display format for those who did enter a parseable location there.

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