Comment 4 for bug 1768961

This is $HOME/.config/user-dirs.dirs.
(I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but I believe that xdg looks for user-dirs.dirs in $HOME/.config, and if it does not find it, creates it from the default file in /etc/xdg
No, I guess not - I just had a look in /etc/xdg and found only user-dirs.defaults (which contains only "relative pathnames from the home directory").)

>what is $HOME for you?
I have not re-defined $HOME, as (some years ago) when I was researching the best way(s) to set up one's hard drive, I believe I found a consensus that it was best to let a distro's apps put their config. and other stuff in the standard place ($HOME) in the root partition, but have xdg user-dirs redirect ones personal data to a separate /data partition, so that all one's distros (current and past - I reserved space for 5 distros + swap and /data) can access the same personal data, but each install has a completely clean install of app config files (normally in $HOME/.config)

Therefore, home is the standard /home/scott
It contains what appear to be the personal directories (Desktop/Documents...), which were probably created at install, but they are all empty.