Frequently Asked Questions
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Since a Stormtrack staff member must lay eyes on each entry, your submission may take a few minutes to show up on the board after submission. Worst case scenario, you could wait several hours to see your work displayed if you post at an odd time or are simply unlucky and a staff member cannot get to your post.
We will do everything possible to ensure you are published as quickly as possible in nearly every instance.
- Have you tried to check your internet options? You may have inadvertently disabled your cookies.
- Have you used your account recently? It's possible that your information is no longer available in our systems! If you haven't used your account in years, we recommend you to try and register your email again.
- If you used to log in with an invalid or malformed email, you won't be able to access your account. In this case, please contact us if you want to keep your information or try registeringa valid email.
- You won't be able to access your account if your username contains invalid characters. In this case, you can use your email to log in. Please contact us if you want to change your username as explained here.
- If you requested to change your email or nickname before, it might be possible that the change was not reflected on all our systems so please contact us to verify your account is setup correctly.
When trying to integrate my Facebook page in External Accounts, I receive an error stating "App Not Setup:The developers of this app have not set up."
As temperatures warm and the Gulf conveyor advances northward, the Forecast Discussions will come out of hibernation.
Are you ready to participate meaningfully in those discussions? They are the crown jewel of Stormtrack and subject to higher standards than most other categories in order to maintain quality content. If you are new to Stormtrack, or if you have been here for a while but have contributed infrequently, then before you jump into the deep end of the pool, please acquaint yourself with the rules that govern Target Area discussions.
Here is a simple self-test to determine whether you're prepared to contribute to Forecast Discussions. The scenario is this: You have no access to SPC convective outlooks, NWS forecasts, local media forecasts, the TWC--no one else's weather forecast of any kind telling you what sort of weather to expect and why. All you have to go by are station obs, soundings, surface and upper-air maps based on numerical models such as the GFS, NAM, and RAP, satellite, model skew-Ts, and other forecasting tools.
Using those resources, can you offer your own ingredients-based forecast and share your thinking behind it using terminology familiar to forecasters? Can you, for example, weigh 3,000 J/kg MLCAPE against 11 degrees C at 700 mb and factor those considerations together with others into the odds of either a chaseable setup or a blue-sky bust? Which model are you looking at, how well does it align with other models, and is it demonstrating run-to-run consistency?
If the above scenario feels comfortable to you, then you are ready to participate in Forecast Discusssions. If not, then I encourage you to lurk in the discussions and get acquainted with their language, the thinking that goes into them, and the interplay between contributors. And if you have any questions or comments, or if you want to talk about developing weather situations and NWS forecasts in simple, non-technical terms, then please use the Introductory Weather & Chasing section. It is designed specifically for the many members here who are learning the ropes and aren't yet ready to create their own forecasts. The rules there are much more relaxed.
Here are three things that will not fly in the Forecast Discussions (but are fine for Introductory Weather & Chasing):
- Copied-and-pasted SPC text and/or graphics. FD participants already know and appreciate what the SPC has to say. The only time such material is acceptable is when you refer to specific parts of it in the context of your own personally reasoned discussion. Do not post an SPC Day 2 graphic along with a short, non-substantive blurb like, "Here's the SPC map. Looks like there could be tornadoes tomorrow in Kansas." In the Forecast Discussions, that's non-information, and it irritates long-time members.
- Comments about personal chase plans that lack substance. For instance, "Wow, 5,000 CAPE in Illinois, and the local forecast is calling for severe storms. Guess I'll be heading out, LOL! Anyone else going?" Such statements are perfectly acceptable for Introductory Weather & Chasing, but please do not post them in the Forecast Discussions.
- Mere reiteration or paraphrasing of existing forecasts. If you're simply echoing an NWS or TWC forecast, seasoned contributors will know. And what would be the point? Again, the Introductory section is where you want to share such information.
It's not about ego. Just be realistic about where you're at on the learning curve. If you're new to this forum, then unless you're a weather professional, chances are you don't yet know enough to realize how much you don't know. Our goal is to help you get up to snuff without compromising the quality of discussions among more seasoned chasers and forecasters.
If, after reading the above, you think that you might be ready to try your hand at the Forecast Discussions, then please do! The discussions may be more technical, but they're still informal, non-professional, and very much grassroots. You don't have to be an expert, just knowledgeable enough to share your own thoughts, insights, and experience meaningfully.
Again, the Forecast Discussions are the centerpiece of Stormtrack. Long-time members who have experienced the peaks and valleys of this forum will appreciate how important it is--and how difficult at times--to uphold higher standards for the Forecast Discussions and for the other Target Area discussions.
In case you missed it the first time, here again is the link to the Target Area Rules. Be assured that lots of folks here need to get acquainted with them, so there's no need to feel embarrassed or singled out after reading this post. Hey, it's good that you're enthused about storm chasing! Just direct your enthusiasm to the proper place on this forum, that's all.
Most basically, a wiki is a type of CMS or Content Management System. While a wiki can be used for many different purposes, many a wiki focuses on article-based content, making it an Article System.
What makes a wiki different from a traditional article-based CMS is its inherent understanding of the interconnectedness of content. A wiki provides tools to manage the relationships between different articles, in case your articles are more than just serial content.
Perhaps the most well-known feature of a wiki is its ability to let multiple users work together to write a single article. VaultWiki has this capability, but traditional authorship is also supported.
A wiki by default also keeps track of changes users make to articles, so that changes can be reversed with very little hassle if necessary.
In short, a wiki can be used for anything that a traditional article system might be used for: news, site content, blogs, etc.
In January 2015 we migrated Stormtrack to new forum software. We moved from vBulletin to Xenforo.
What is Xenforo? And why did we change to it?
Xenforo is a relatively new forum platform released in 2011 by the original developers of vBulletin. These guys built vBulletin and grew it to be the market leader in forum software. But while vBulletin is, in my opinion, failing in the hands of new owners, the Xenforo team have moved on to create an efficient, user friendly, innovative, contemporary forum platform which we will all benefit from using.
The nitty gritty
vBulletin's 3 key developers, Kier Darby, Mike Sullivan and Scott MacVicar, wanted to redevelop vBulletin from scratch as far back as 2007. Internet Brands, however, insisted on working on the vBulletin 3 code to release vBulletin 4 as soon as possible. Kier, Mike and Scott all left Jelsoft in 2009.
In our opinion, Internet Brands has mismanaged the development of vBulletin, producing generally poor code in vBulletin 4, creating security problems and pricing structure issues. vBulletin 5 Connect has received considerable criticism for being a premature release absent many important features, containing old code inherited from vBulletin 2 and being ineptly inefficient.
When vBulletin 3 was developed, the future formatting of websites to maximize Search Engine Optimization (SEO - primarily for Google) was not foreseen.
What do others think about vBulletin?
Some general thoughts about vB from around the internet.
- vBulletin is as good as dead
- My professional opinion- vb is dead. 4 sucks, 5 is worse. Jump to xenforo 1.2 when it's final and leave all this behind like everyone else has....
- vBulletin after being taken over by Internet Brands became a total failure, looking at vBulletin 5 should explain what I mean. Even if vBSEO started development again, do you really think people will come back to vBSEO?
- vBulletin is losing customers daily to IPS or XF or other competitive forum softwares.
- The current condition of vBulletin is dire and we don't know when Internet Brands will pull the plug on vBulletin if they stop generating positive revenue.
- VBulletin 4 is no longer developed. It's a matter of time before it becomes too obsolete.
- VBulletin 5 is a failed software. The current market share of VB5 is about half a percent.
- There is also an interesting thread at The Admin Zone discussing the departure of Freddie Bingham, the last of the 'old guard' vB3 developers. The admin folks there really lay into Internet Brands.
The breadcrumb is a standard feature of many websites.
In an effort to make the management of the forums as transparent as possible, we have refined our member and forum rules and have created a set of administrative guidelines. It is our hope that members will find this satisfactory by being upfront and clear about what our expectations are from members who participate in the forum.
We want to provide all of our members as much freedom as possible while maintaining an environment that encourages productive discussion. Micromanaging every member, thread, post, or word is not something we care to do, and the administrative time and effort involved is simply too demanding. Every situation is unique, and we firmly believe we cannot provide the type of forum everyone desires by attempting to over-regulate the members and/or content on Stormtrack.
We highly encourage respect and responsibility among members in order to maintain order and civility. Our social forum (The Bear’s Cage) will have a more relaxed atmosphere, but other forums are expected to remain on-topic and posts should be helpful, relevant, courteous, and professional. Several forums (and sub-forums) have their own specific rules, so please be aware of this before posting to these areas or interacting with other members. In order to accomplish the goals we have set forth, members will be expected to abide by the Forum Rules and Guidelines provided here.
Stormtrack utilizes a forum software solution called Xenforo, which has the ability to aid the staff in better enforcing the rules. In order to maintain high quality forum content, staff members frequently review forum messages for those that are in violation of Stormtrack policy and/or rules. Any messages found to be in violation may be deleted without warning or explanation. Stormtrack reserves the right to edit or delete any posts, messages, or threads for any reason and without prior notification or explanation to the author. Breaking any of the forum rules may result in the loss of posting privileges and possible loss of your forum account.
If you break the rules and receive a warning notice (disciplinary action), you will receive a notification via the Conversation system, stating the reason why, along with a quote of the rule(s) that were broken. It is the responsibility of each forum member to check the rules on a periodic basis for any revisions before posting to the forum. Stormtrack is a privately owned and operated forum - it is NOT a free speech zone.
As far as forum bans are concerned, the staff has adopted a three strike system for members who do not follow the rules. In its simplest form, three strikes means you are looking at a ban. Any form of complaining (publicly or otherwise) about disciplinary actions may result in further sanctions. Receiving a warning notice isn't a huge deal, it just means you broke the rules and need to modify your behavior. If you learn from it and don't do it again, all should be well. The most common way for established members to be banned or lose forum privileges is by taking up too much administrative overhead. We simply do not have the time to manage these issues with such granularity and hope that all members pay close attention and comply with the rules.
1. Stormtrack reserves the right to change the aforementioned rules at any time without warning or notice.
2. By posting to the Stormtrack, you agree to abide by the above rules and terms.
3. All messages posted become the property of Stormtrack.
4. Stormtrack and its representatives will not be held liable for the result of the usage of any information provided on Stormtrack, and disclaim all liability resulting in the use of the posted information.
5. All opinions and views expressed on Stormtrack are solely those of their respective authors and are not necessarily those of Stormtrack, WiseSky Holdings LLC, its owner Steve Miller, or its representatives.
Websites are almost always hosted by a web hosting company which charges for the service.
Websites with a low amount of traffic can use shared servers and have to pay just a few bucks a month for the hosting.
Websites with more traffic, like Stormtrack usually have a dedicated server.
Sometimes if the traffic is higher, there will be a need for more than one server.
If we don't have servers powerful enough to cope, the website runs too slowly and users/members rightfully get frustrated using it.
The website is accessed through a data pipeline like the one serving your broadband at home. In the same way that you pay more for more bandwidth, when there is a lot of traffic to a website, a larger capacity is needed (more Mb/s). This costs more money.
If you have a lot of traffic to your website (particularly when visitors are viewing images on it), but your bandwidth is not sufficient, then the website is 'choked', which means it runs too slowly and people rightfully get frustrated using it.
The cost of our web servers, bandwidth, licensure, addons, professional advisors and marketing costs thousands every year.
There are other costs related to running Stormtrack like there are running any small business such as development (producing new functionality for the website), and items listed above.
Those blocking advertisements on Stormtrack, are restricting the amount of revenue that ST can earn and therefore restrict the quality of the service we can provide.
It seems reasonable, then, that we ask all our visitors to consider disabling adblock for Stormtrack.
As a reward for those people who disable ad blocking, we provide some premium services made exclusively available to them. These include our free marketplace service and competitions.
We hope this explains how (most) websites work and why they need to display ads, and why, if you value that website, you should view them. Given the fact that ads here are centered around your hobby, we hope this will be an easy decision for you.
In order to rate posts, you must be a Stormtrack member. A New Member will not have sufficient privileges to rate posts and must be promoted to Member before they can do so.
The post ratings buttons will appear towards the bottom right of the post.
(On touch screen devices, the post rating buttons are always visible).
The ratings given to a particular post are shown below the post on the left.
Thumbs Up, Informative and Agree can be selected once per post per member and each earn one reputation point per click. Example: You post about the supercell environment differences between 5/19 and 5/20, 2013 and 6 members give you a thumbs up and 2 give you informational props. This will equal 8 reputation points.
Thumbs Down will result in a negative reputation point. So if you post something silly, ignorant, or controversial and get three thumbs down, those will reduce your reputation points by 3 points, effectively reducing your reputation. That is bad. Post quality, informative content and avoid snarks and your reputation will soar!
Revised February 6th, 2015
Target Area is Stormtrack's primary discussion area for severe weather events. Although the rules are relatively straight-forward, please familiarize yourself with them so we can minimize the moderation required to keep the signal-to-noise ratio at an acceptable level.
All meteorological or chasing-related discussion regarding an upcoming, ongoing, or recent severe weather event is welcome in the appropriate Target Area thread. Each thread will only pertain to activity that occurred on that day. To keep content organized and easy-to-follow, there are two thread “types” allowed within the Target Area:
1) “EVENT” – To reduce confusion and simply the rules, Stormtrack no longer uses separate threads for forecasts, nowcasts, or discussion of ongoing or recent severe weather events. In other words, what used to go into a FCST, NOW, TALK, DISC, or MISC thread (all “types” that Stormtrack has used in the past) will go into the appropriate EVENT thread.
2) “REPORTS” – Only first-hand chase reports are allowed within REPORTS threads. If you didn’t chase or make an “abnormal” effort to witness an event, do not post in the REPORTS thread. A person may post multiple times within a REPORTS thread to share additional information (e.g., one post for the initial, on-the-way-back-after-the-chase report and second, follow-up post with more details or links to additional pictures or video). Please do not reply to posts in the REPORTS thread to ask questions or make comments. Instead, reply to the member in the appropriate EVENT thread.
Starting new threads
When starting a new thread, the subject line MUST be formatted as YYYY-MM-DD [type]: [location], where YYYY is the year, MM is the month, DD is the day, [type] is the thread type (EVENT or REPORT), and [location] are any state abbreviations in or close to your target area. If this isn't clear, look at the forum for examples. Do not start new threads with empty content (placeholder threads) as they might not get used and tend to clutter up the forum. Normally there should only be one EVENT and one REPORTS thread per day, but you can create another if your target is in a different synoptic regime or centered 500+ miles from the other target center.
Style and substance
We intend Target Area discussion to be of higher quality than that which occurs elsewhere on the site. This does not mean that all posts must be highly detailed forecasts or only contain high-level meteorological content. It does, however, mean that we would like to avoid meteorologically irrelevant “chatter” (e.g., “Boy, it sure looks like a nice setup next week, but the models are still inconsistent. We’ll get a better idea of the potential as new runs come in”) or posts that contain only readily-accessible content. As such, do not repost weather bulletins unless it's an excerpt and you have substantial information to add. All discussion of other peoples' post content must be constructive and positive. Negative comments (including "most people don't agree with that" and "don't take this the wrong way, but that’s stupid") may not be posted; take this kind of discussion to PM or e-mail. For misleading or inappropriate content, flag the post or contact a moderator and move on. Extraneous chatter is allowed if the post already contains substantial weather discussion and the remarks don't disrupt or derail the thread.
If you consider yourself a beginner, you are welcome to contribute to Target Area. There's often aspects of the chase day you might notice and wish to share with others. However, if you believe you are out of your depth or feel the need to ask questions, use the Introductory Chasing forum instead. Target Area is not a Q&A board. Likewise, experienced users responding to content posted by novices are expected to do so in an exemplary manner.
All other rules are covered in our sitewide rules, which can be found here.
Rule #1: Respect your fellow members. All registered users must address fellow members with the utmost respect at all times. If you do not agree with a fellow member, be courteous in your response. Thomas Jefferson said it best: "When I hear another express an opinion which is not mine, I say to myself, he has a right to his opinion, as I to mine".
Because of the limitations of text based communication, the expression of intent can be tricky. One of the most common triggers of rule violations is the misinterpretation of intent behind a post. It never hurts to begin a response with "In my opinion"...
If you do not address everyone on the board with respect, be prepared to lose your membership.
Rule #2: Do not post profanity. Obscene material is not permitted, nor are links to websites containing such material or anything deemed inappropriate for minors. If what you have to say wouldn't be suited for network TV, don't post it here. Use of profanity will not help you get your point across and is in fact, a crutch many use who cannot express themselves well. Don't use that crutch...
Rule #3: Off-limit Topics & Forum-Specific Rules Controversial topics will be closely monitored if they occur outside of "The Bears Cage". Political and religious related discussion are not allowed in any other forum except the The Bears Cage. Several forums have their own specific rules posted as sticky threads. In the future these forum specific rules will be relocated to the Resources section in the main menu.
Rule #4: Cultural Sensitivity Negative remarks based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion will not be tolerated.
Rule #5: Questioning a Moderation Decision Publicly. If you have a disagreement with a staff member (If your thread gets deleted, if you get a warning, etc.), DO NOT post your complaint publicly on the forums. If you would like to raise a complaint regarding a staff member's actions, start a private conversation or email the staff member. If the staff members response is unsatisfactory, please contact the forum owner.
We take all complaints seriously, but posting your dissatisfaction publicly will result in a rule violation.
Rule #6: Use Courtesy in private Conversations and the Chat Room. Please use courtesy when using the private messaging functions, otherwise known as Conversations. Any complaints received of members abusing these messaging functions will result in a ban or possible membership termination.
Rule #7: Spam = BAD
Spamming is prohibited on Stormtrack.
Rule #8: Represent yourself truthfully. Please be honest when representing yourself on Stormtrack. Using two or more user accounts concurrently is prohibited. Registering duplicate accounts to circumvent a ban is prohibited. Stormtrack staff members reserve the right to check internet IP addresses for verification.
Rule #9: Endorsement Disclosure The purpose of these disclosures is to provide those who read your posts with the full knowledge of your situation, when considering your opinions on gear. We recognize the fact that in some circumstances a minor discount or other "non-endorsing" remuneration may be too insignificant to consider for disclosure. We trust that as honest storm chasers that you'll use your best judgment and moral guide to determine if your fellow members would benefit from the disclosure of this information. Stormtrack reserves the right to require disclosure if the remuneration is deemed significant.
Rule #10: No Trolling Any member that posts in a trolling manner will not be tolerated. Trolling is defined as making inflammatory posts simply to , while lacking in substance pertaining to the thread topic. Staff discretion applies.
Stormtrack was started in 1977 by David Hoadley as a way of connecting a handful of dedicated storm chasers. The number of readers grew into the hundreds during the 1980s. In 1986, David Hoadley elected to retire as editor and handed the reins to Tim Marshall, an engineer from the Dallas area. The magazine continued to grow in popularity and reached its peak in 1997 following the appearance of the film Twister. Tim Marshall released the final issue of Stormtrack in 2002, bringing the magazine's 25-year run to a close. He cited the success of the Internet in bringing stormchasers together in real-time, which brought the paper magazine into obsolescence.
Stormtrack's official website was started in November 1996 by Tim Vasquez following a meeting between Tim Marshall, Tim Vasquez, Bruce Haynie, and Gene Rhoden in which its vision for the Internet age was outlined. In spring 1997, Stormtrack was running full steam with a huge number of chasing photos, chasing news, and chase logs on its website, and the May 25, 1997 Oklahoma/Kansas outbreak was the first major event we covered. We were originally found at telepath.com/stormtrack, but we quickly got our own domain name (www.storm-track.com) and shared hosting. Stormtrack continued to be popular during the remainder of the 1990s but was it a hand-written HTML news site and had no interactive community. In 2000 we officially merged with Gilbert Sebenste's famous Storm Chaser Homepage and changed the domain to (www.stormtrack.org), getting rid of the controversial hyphenated domain. In 2002 we began moving toward a community based model, starting a Yahoo Group (stormtrack) and running an IRC chat room with frequent distinguished guests appearing.
Finally in late 2003 we implemented the current incarnation of Stormtrack, a small phpBB discussion board that rapidly grew into what Stormtrack is today. In late 2005 Tim Marshall consigned his share in Stormtrack ownership to Tim Vasquez, making him sole owner.
In 2015, Stormtrack ownership was awarded in full to Steve Miller. After nearly four years of declining activity on the forum, a reinvention is underway. The traditional forum platform declined in use beginning in 2009, with the rise of social media being a major factor. To address identified shortcomings, Stormtrack was completely rebuilt from the ground up, utilizing the latest community software in order to easily scale as needed and allow the site to function in a more engaging manner.
Stormtrack is an institution and the information contained within this forum is no doubt priceless. As you can deduce while reading about the evolution of Stormtrack, the entity has gone through many changes in order to keep up with the times and the needs of its content providers and readers. Here's to many more years as the premier gathering place and source of information for storm chasers.
- You can set your signature on your Personal Details page
- Our rules apply to signatures in the same way that they apply to posts
- Keep your signature within reason. No large text, bright colors or signatures that contain more than 5 lines of text
The top of the page might include a header that shows important wiki information, advertisements, or other widgets.
Below that, the page is typically split between the page's body content on the left and a sidebar of various widgets on the right.
The body of a page generally has a number of tabbed controls at the top, which provide links to the editor, lists of child content, and other various options.
Then we have the page's title followed by the actual content -- what the user has come to the page to read about.
The content might be one block or several, and may end with a list of categories, feeds, and other tags that might lead the user to similar wiki entries.
Finally, the page lists the names of the users who have helped to write the content.
Some pages, if they can act as landing pages for other parts of the wiki, also include short lists of child pages to let the reader know that there is more to read inside.
A reputation system accomplishes two things:
- Quality content is important here at Stormtrack, so is reputation within the community. Quality content offered by members will result in more thumbs up clicks from other members, with each thumbs up click earning the content providing member one point.
- Members can also receive a thumbs down which will, in essence, decrease reputation. This will encourage members to think twice before being snarky or downright rude.
In addition to the thumbs, you can also mark a post as "informational" which is worth one point just like a thumbs up. Finally, there is an option to mark a post "Agree". This is neutral in the points system but does tell the original poster that you have agreed with their thoughts.
- The competition is open to members who are in specific usergroups, and you are not in one of those groups.
- You are too young or you have no date of birth in your profile. Some competitions may have an age restriction and are open only to members who are above that age. Also if your profile does not have your date of birth completed, then you will be considered ineligible. Contact a moderator if your date of birth is missing from your profile.
- You are in an ineligible territory. Some competition sponsors are responsible for certain territories only and so make their prizes available only to members in that territory. The territory is determined by your IP address and if you are using a proxy IP with no country associated with it then you will also be considered ineligible.
- You are blocking adverts. While we acknowledge your right to block ads, we reward people who support Stormtrack by viewing ads with access to our competitions. If you wish to enter our competitions, please disable ad blocking on Stormtrack. Once disabled, you will need to log out and back in again and refresh the page a few times before the ad blocking restriction is lifted. You can check whether our system has detected ad blocking by visiting the membership information page.
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