Where's this skiier on snow hills with tors behind? by Ghreu

Where's this cwm and mountains in Nunavik, northern QC? by Accounting

Where's this tarn in Mt Garibaldi? by Mark da Silva

Where are these wild flowers, in front of dell and evergreens, in Mt Rainier National Park, WA? by Pamela Lee

Where's this mere with board walk and cherry blossoms in Japan? by Matthew Lau, who also asks about a hummock, some hovels, and a beck in three other questions.

Tors? Cwm? Tarn? Dell? Who talks like this? Not the people in the places being asked about. This is just the first two pages of . Are these all the same people? Why would anyone make multiple sock puppets to ask about photogenic locations around the world? Is there some sort of ESL issue that leads people into using highly specific words (often associated only with one part of the world) for landscape features, but not for anything else?

I ask because I mostly want to edit these. The word tarn doesn't make sense outside northern Britain; we should say "small lake". We could similarly edit in more familiar synonyms for all of these. But first, I really wish I knew why this was happening. Anyone know?

  • 4
    I have my suspicions, but not enough to even talk about, even less take action. (But sock puppets is not unlikely.)
    – Willeke Mod
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 17:11
  • 5
    If it's who I think it is, then I haven't found an explanation that makes sense. Some people just love writing hundreds of low quality questions. Commented May 28, 2020 at 0:23
  • 5
    Cwm, tarn, sure they're pretty esoteric. But dell? That's pretty common -- there was a children's song we'd sing (90's, US) "the farmer in the dell". And "tor" is decently common in certain regions (eg Dartmoor). Commented May 28, 2020 at 6:14
  • 4
    @curiousdannii: Using socks to serially ask low-quality questions makes some sense: You regain the benefit of doubt and new-user bonus and you avoid question bans. Of course, there is an easier way, namely to learn how to ask proper questions.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 6:28
  • 8
    I've had the same suspicions for a long time (hence this post). Similarities between those accounts (and a couple more) go way beyond what you've mentioned here, for the record, especially if you look at other network sites. Several have extremely picky elderly grandparents in Canada, several love to ask about the "underlying semantic notion" of words which have changed meaning, several love to ask for extremely specific explanations of long quotes from law and accounting textbooks... I could go on
    – Chris H
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 7:40
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    @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas my point is indeed that they are common in certain areas. You spend time in Wales, you'll say cwm. You live in the north of England, tarn and beck. The southwest of England, tor. But the questions are about Japan, Quebec, Switzerland … not places where people use those words. It's … odd. Commented May 28, 2020 at 12:38
  • 1
    The user 'Accounting' at least seems to have some reputation on this and other sites.
    – guest
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 13:26
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    @guest I'd be cautious reading anything into the rep for two reasons: at the time I made the post linked above, several of the accounts were banned from at least one other network site for "voting irregularities". Even ignoring that, the system of +10 for upvotes and -2 for downvotes means that asking lots of low quality questions is no obstacle to high rep anyway
    – Chris H
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 14:11
  • It could also be that somebody spreaded the word about how good this site is in identifying pictures in their region.
    – guest
    Commented May 29, 2020 at 6:30
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    At least two of the users listed as the writer of these questions have asked extremely similar types of question on other sites (to the point where they are almost identical in style, layout, intent, and timeliness)(and I had to check whether it was actually a change of name, but no, separate accounts). CMs should be checking on these as an upscale version of sockpuppeting for rep.
    – Nij
    Commented May 31, 2020 at 9:11

1 Answer 1


My guess is that these keywords are "get into HNQ" cards.

I think that this is just a strategy to game the HNQ (Hot Network Questions)/reputation system. Using an obscure word will give your question much more exposure. Compare what happens when you see these two hypothetical questions on the front page:

  • "Where's this small round hill in Idaho?" (Never been to Idaho, next question please.)
  • "Where's this flubbub in Idaho?" (What the heck is a flubbub? Click!)

The latter gets you loads of views and interaction in no time, thus likely HNQ exposure, thus loads of rep in no time.

(Whether these are all the same person or several people using the same approach is a different question.)

IMHO the best course of action is to edit these words out and see what happens, especially whether the OP pushes back. If they don't, then it was probably just an odd translation or something.

  • I've certainly seen at least one of those accounts have a question reach HNQ, then post another question a few days or weeks later that's essentially the same as the previous one. Which would be consistent with somebody who wants to hit HNQ/game the reputation system. That said, they do also use extremely strange vocabulary within their questions/comments (announcing that google "unfurled" something, for example. I've also seen them use "peradventure" on more than one occasion, a word I don't believe I've ever encountered in any other context). Could also be for attention, though, I suppose.
    – Chris H
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 12:09
  • 1
    I think that this should be balanced against regional words. For example, 'tors' are very common in Dartmoor. If I took a photo in Dartmoor, and forgot which tor it was, then I think it would be OK to use the word "tor" in the title of the question identifying that. Commented May 28, 2020 at 14:26
  • 1
    That being said, don't mods have the ability now to remove questions from the HNQ list? If someone is gaming the system, seems like it would be reasonable to slap 'em down for the low quality questions. Commented May 28, 2020 at 14:28
  • @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas Right, but then hopefully you wouldn't mind too much if someone went and edited "tor" out, would you? I do think that mods can un-HNQ questions (cool them down?), but I'm obviously not a mod.
    – TooTea
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 16:41
  • 2
    @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas, the problem is that these users are mostly new or relatively new and we are often not sure whether they are a new user or a sock, so we often do not act. I think this is a good reason to flag for a mod and mention that this Q should (might need to) be removed from the HNQ list.
    – Willeke Mod
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 16:44
  • @ChrisH OK, I'm not saying my theory is bulletproof. But if the general odd choice of words is just an innocent result of a poor translation, editing the post should be uncontroversial.
    – TooTea
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 16:47
  • @TooTea sorry, I guess I wasn’t clear - I agree with you that it’s (at least very plausibly) their aim!
    – Chris H
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 19:31

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