Some identify-this questions are interesting and answerable.

Where did I take this picture in Similkameen Valley in 2010?

Where are these cliffs?

Others are weird and not valuable.

Where's this water pier, with a rusty tower with staircase, in North West Pennsylvania?

(and tons of deleted ones that have been the subject of meta discussion)

We've discussed both sets in the past. But some, where a person has been cropped out or obscured, seem to be "find out where this person is" questions, not related to travel at all.

Water fountain in Europe with jagged sculpture

Can you identify this city or country?

Where is the cityscape in this recent photo, probably in Malaysia?

Can we agree on how to close these? Tracking down people who haven't told you where they are is creepy. And I see no other point to these questions.

  • 1
    I do not agree it will always be tracking someone. It can also be to locate photos OP has taken in the past but does not remember where.
    – Willeke Mod
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 16:04
  • It can be, but in these specific cases I don't believe that's the case. I guess that the stalkers could just get better at adding flavour text, but they're not really doing that now. Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 17:09
  • I edited the title to be clear I don't want to close all identify-this questions, just the ones we think are stalkery Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 17:10
  • 8
    A large proportion of that type of question (perhaps a majority, even, of the "stalkery" ones) were posted by a single persistent network-wide troll. They should have been deleted because they are part of that trolling.
    – Nij
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 18:31
  • 1
    I know, but it's not zero. The fountain with the jagged sculpture was asked yesterday Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 18:57
  • Eh, I'd say requesting detail about any photo of an identifiable private person should be disallowed as a breach of privacy anyway - either you're sticking them out on the internet without their control or consent, probably not even their knowledge or awareness, or you're trying to discover something about them that they'll tell you directly if they want you to know. That's not every "identify the place/landmark" question, but it is the defining feature of the ones that cause problems. And seems like an easy line to draw: identifiable people (including masks or silhouettes) = disallowed.
    – Nij
    Commented Mar 4, 2023 at 2:21
  • In the Malaysian one, there was no person, no silhouette, but in all likelihood the person had been cropped out. It's not as simple as having a person in the picture. Commented Mar 4, 2023 at 2:27
  • 6
    If that's the reason to close a question we should delete the picture, any answer or the whole Q&A. Closing this question but leaving it online does not adequately protect the privacy of the woman in the picture.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 11:26
  • 2
    If it's an obvious photo at a tourist attraction, hotel, etc, then you can bet that a lot of people have been there and it's unlikely to be much use for stalking an individual. It's more likely to be "I took this photo but forget where." There may be some photos that are more of an issue - e.g. a picture of someone standing outside an ordinary house or office would be problematic and might help identify someone - but these questions generally don't reach that standard.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 16:13
  • 2
    I wonder if a good rule of thumb might be that "I have this photo of somewhere I went in 1974 and..." is fine, but a very recent one is not. But I can see how that would be hard to police. Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 10:57
  • This has been raised before: travel.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7184/…
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 1:37

5 Answers 5


Putting this out for voting purposes:

We should delete all picture location requests where someone is in the photo or clearly been blocked out of the photo. Those picture location requests which are deemed to be innocent are allowed and can be given as detailed a location as the person answering is able to give.

(To get the questions to be deleted really deleted, please flag and choose 'in need of moderation intervention' and write 'stalking' or something like that as reason.)

  • 1
    I intentionally block out people in photos I post, especially strangers who appear underage. If I'm posting a picture that I took because I can't remember exactly where I was at the time (maybe a town square), it's going to fall afoul of your rules because I am going to attempt to anonymize the people who might be in the snap. I'm unclear how this "deemed to be innocent" process would work. Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 19:34
  • 2
    @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas, I am not really for the deletion of all possible suspected photos, but some people are very much for it, (and I can understand why.) So I guess you will need to give a lot of explanation in the question to make sure people understand.
    – Willeke Mod
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 20:09

Putting this out for voting purposes. The stalking was not always obvious to me at first sight but those are not especially interesting questions (nobody can search for them) so I think closing them out of an abundance of caution would be fine.

In general, we could also make it a rule to answer with a city / rough location (a valid question in principle) without trying to provide a map / address / Google street view (who cares about that?).

  • Without the full location how can anyone validate the answer is correct? Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 15:35
  • 1
    @user253751 A cityscape is easily recognisable without an exact location, that's the kind of questions I have in mind. Someone who knows the place would also be able to check the answer. I don't think we typically “validate” answers and we certainly do not demand that anybody should be able to check them without prior knowledge, this is not Wikipedia.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 23:44
  • 8
    I do not agree with the 'rough location only' part of this answer, as I think that is useless for many of the good identify this questions I do remember.
    – Willeke Mod
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 17:56

We should delete all picture location questions where someone is prominently in the photo or has been clearly blocked out.

Photos where people are a normal part of a landscape or cityscape should be OK. For example, barring another pandemic, taking photos of Times Square or the Fontana di Trevi without people in them is going to be difficult, in particular in daylight.


I think we should vote quality-based and not paranoia-based (or anything like that).

If the OP can't give any arguments why the object to identify is anything worth identifying for broader publicity (and not only for him) it should be closed as too localized*

*since too localized is no longer a close reason, 'needs more clarity' seems the nearest


Putting this out for voting purposes.

Stalking is such a minor concern that we should keep all such questions by default and presume good faith. Only questions about photos taken in locations that are obviously of zero tourist interest (i.e. courtyard of a non-descript apartment building) should be closed.

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