The Mystery of /r/WarTellSet
May 30, 2017 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Please help us solve the mystery of the WarTellSet subreddit, which involves map coordinates, QR codes, and files of inexplicable decimal digits!

A couple of nights ago my buddy was browsing Reddit and found a bizarre subreddit named WarTellSet. We spent half an hour trying to work out what on earth it was about, and decided to continue the next day.

The next morning, it had been made private. This was irksome!

We haven't asked for permission to join the subreddit, but you guys can feel free I suppose.

Here is everything we know about the subreddit. If you have any ideas about its purpose, please put us out of our misery!

The account that created the subreddit and makes all the post is WarTellSet, a new account that has done nothing else publicly.

The first post had the text: "20170526162102". It had an image of a generic-looking QR code pointing to

The post was made around the time the timestamp indicates. We're not sure of the timezone.

All subsequent posts had geographical coordinates in the following format: "AU -6.4927778, -79.1613889".

The number of decimal places in the coordinates varied, with a maximum of seven. The coordinates often appeared to be rounded numbers e.g. 1.25 or -12.6666667.

My friend looked up around six of the coordinate sets and found they were all on land, which would seem weird if they're being randomly generated. Perhaps they were selected by human clicks on a map. This would explain the rounded numbers.

All the posts had QR codes pointing to URLs such as

My friend can't remember if the filename had any relation to the coordinates.

As you can see, the files are long sets of decimal digits in US-ASCII, preceeded by "!", seperated by either "!!" or "!||!".

I tried looking at the digits in grids of various sizes and didn't see any obvious pattern.

Sometimes the end of sets of digits are large numbers of "0"s.

"wtsdat" is not a known file extension. I assume it means WarTellSet Data.

The two files you see here are the only two we still have. The files are partially identical, but not entirely.

We mostly accessed the posts by the Reddit app, so we don't have a history of the other coordinates.

What's up with all that, eh?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This is kind of a dubious use of AskMe - if it's a thing for a closed community elsewhere, bringing it here doesn't seem cool. -- restless_nomad

I missed some things in the files.

In the first file, the string "!g!" appears 23 times. In the second, 22 times.

In the first file, the string "!_!" appears 21 times. In the second, also 21 times.

Sometimes strings similar to this appear: "!-0.00409385824111!".

Other characters also appear. Here are the character counts for file "20170526162102":
{'!': 2737, 'g': 23, '-': 9, '.': 23, '1': 8386379, '0': 11229913, '3': 8326184, '2': 8401930, '5': 8374891, '4': 8297010, '7': 8383204, '6': 8350181, '9': 8333909, '8': 8417171, '|': 346, '_': 21}

And for "70813221050152.wtsdat":
{'!': 2765, 'g': 22, '&': 3, '-': 10, '.': 23, '1': 8471715, '0': 11043772, '3': 8409389, '2': 8485861, '5': 8459592, '4': 8382680, '7': 8468169, '6': 8433978, '9': 8421651, '8': 8501543, '|': 362, '_': 21}
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:21 AM on May 30

In the file "20170526162102", these are the counts for things between "!" and "!" which are not large decimal integers:
{'': 1120, 'g': 23, '||': 173, '50100000': 4, '25100000': 3, '-05': 1, '25200000': 3, '_': 21}

And for "70813221050152.wtsdat":
{'': 1127, '30300000': 2, 'g': 22, '||': 175, '||&||': 3, '50100000': 4, '-06': 2, '-05': 2, '25200000': 4, '_': 21}
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:24 AM on May 30

There is a lot of redundant data. The same long decimal integers between "!"s.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:59 AM on May 30

It was created May 24, 2017. That's about all I can help with.
posted by WCityMike at 10:08 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]

I found these coordinates in my browser history: AU 33.774167, 68.971667. Somewhere in Afghanistan.

The coordinates I mentioned earlier are AU -6.4927778, -79.1613889. Peru.

We remember other coordinates being in non-significant-looking locations in:
Philadelphia, PA, USA
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:23 AM on May 30

I can't necessarily help directly but I highly recommend posting everything you've put here on the r/UnresolvedMysteries subreddit. They'd go nuts for this.
posted by WidgetAlley at 11:38 AM on May 30 [2 favorites]

I did so. It was deleted for the following reasons: Too recent. Personal anecdotes.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:06 PM on May 30

The coordinates seem to originate from a US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency dataset of geographic place names. One represents Kazdarra, Afghanistan. The other, Chaupichana, Peru.

The exact figures with the same number of decimal places are found here. Makes me wonder if this is related to someone's math or CS homework.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:55 PM on May 30

Traveling Salesman?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:36 PM on May 30

But why would they use QR codes?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:50 PM on May 30

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