Chase topic minefields

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Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
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St. Louis
stormhighway.com
I thought it might be beneficial for newer members to see a list of topics that are almost guaranteed to elicit a negative response on the forum and on social media. This isn't to discourage the discussion of these topics, just to prepare the poster for some of the responses. In other words, if you talk about doing any of these things, you need to expect criticism and have some thick skin in preparation.

On the flipside, I'd also encourage longtime chasers to have patience/tact with newcomers when they post things like this. Some of these involve safety issues of which serious criticism is well warranted, but even still, tact goes a long way. We were all new at one time and guilty of some of these ourselves.

Vehicle topics:

- Lightbars and flashing lights: strobes, rotators, wigwags, arrow sticks, etc
- Weather stations and instruments: Davis/OS home stations, custom builds, etc
- Logos and graphics: wraps, magnets, banners
- Anything with the intent, or appearance of intent, to drive into tornadoes: armored vehicles, etc
- Any accessory that is "over the top" or having the appearance of attention-seeking rather than actual function

Driving topics:

- Excessive speeding
- Passing in no-passing zones or on blind curves/hills
- Stopping in the road
- Standing in the road or setting tripods up in the road
- Tailgating
- Driving slow on a 2-lane road
- Hanging out of vehicle window to shoot pictures/video
- Running stop signs or red lights

Media/Photography topics:

- Giving video/photos away to media companies/networks for free/cheap
- Photographing fresh damage and tornado victims
- Copying other chasers' images to your web site/social media pages
- Celebrating while shooting a destructive tornado

Social Media/web sites/blogs:
- Posting weather hype/outlandish model graphics
- Publishing own watches/warnings

Chasing goals:

- Research
- Saving lives
- Making it a career
- Getting too close/getting "extreme" video
- Not stopping when first on the scene of damage

Weather topics:
- Global warming
- Monetizing storm chasing (video sales, sponsorships, Kickstarter campaigns, etc)
- Conspiracy theories

I'm sure there are others, but that should cover most of them! Feel free to add more if you think of any.
 
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Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
3,015
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Westminster, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
While I agree that a list like this is a pretty good idea, and would be a good first thing for new members to read, that list is quite long and will probably give new members the impression that they basically can't say ANYTHING on the forum. You posted a list that looks like

DON'T talk about...
this
this
this
this and this
this
this
this
this
this this
that this
this that
this
this
this

Missing: DO talk about...

Here's how I would imagine some new members feeling after reading that: "great...so what CAN I talk about? Anything? No? Okay, f--- this." And they leave.

I'm not sure that's the message you want to be giving to new forum members.
 
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Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
3,015
1,534
21
Westminster, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
Not sure it should even be presented as "don't talk about...". More like, "Search first...these topics have been rehashed a gazillion times and here are a few links to prove the point"
Valid point. In that case, we need to add an entire volume associated with the science of meteorology, including topics such as
-what is a dryline
-what is a supercell
-why do supercells split/move right/move left
-what is a derecho
-why do tornadoes form
-what gives supercells rotation
-where can one typically find the dryline
-what does lapse rate have to do with forecasting severe weather
-what is pressure
-...
-...
-...

This list could go on for a few hundred entries.
 
Aug 16, 2009
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30
Amarillo, TX
I think we need to rewind this thread. Dan was only saying that the newbies need to realize that there's certain topics that'll gain negative responses. I encourage the newbs to ask questions about weather to further their knowledge on weather. Yes there's basic things that everyone should know such as basic spotter 101 things. But everything else should be subjects that should be answered with links to subjects. They don't always have to be long drawn out type ups.
 

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,475
2,132
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St. Louis
stormhighway.com
This isn't to discourage the discussion of these topics, just to prepare the poster for some of the responses.
To highlight this part of my post (I edited it to boldface it). Some of these topics result in interesting and long discussions, as long as neither party devolves into being either a.) personally offended by any direct or indirect criticism or b.) overly annoyed by the fact that the subject is being brought up/rehashed again.

Just my humble attempt to help new chasers understand why they don't get glowing, welcoming universal praise when one of their first posts is on a controversial subject.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Sep 7, 2013
545
354
21
Strasburg, CO
So I was thinking about installing an armor plated led lit skywarn logo on every visible surface of my chase vehicle...is that ok?




Ok, so I'm a noob and I only have a small skywarn magnet on the back of my bone stock Forester...but thats just to help convince the sheriff I'm not up to no good while out chasing lightning. :)
 
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Jul 16, 2013
221
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Joplin, MO
I only have a small skywarn magnet on the back of my bone stock Forester...but thats just to help convince the sheriff I'm not up to no good while out chasing lightning. :)
Another one to add to that list, Dan.

A Storm Spotter, or Skywarn Magnet isn't going to deter law enforcement from harassing you. I'm sure there are a few LEO's out there that if they suspect you're storm chasing, they will harass you and a little Skywarn Magnet isn't going to help.
 
Sep 7, 2013
545
354
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Strasburg, CO
Well...from experience, while out photographing lightning, I have had fewer stop and asks from the county sheriff with my magnets in place than without. So while those here can disparage having "I'm a stormchaser" decals and signs all over their vehichle , and be considered attention whores, while out photographing lightning at night with reflective magnets on my car I've had far fewer issues with law enforcement and more importantly with late night locals.

So call it what you will...but id rather have my magnet discourage a curious imbibed local than the alternative on my hip ( which btw was recommended by my local sheriff).
 
Jul 16, 2013
221
112
11
Joplin, MO
Well...from experience, while out photographing lightning, I have had fewer stop and asks from the county sheriff with my magnets in place than without. So while those here can disparage having "I'm a stormchaser" decals and signs all over their vehichle , and be considered attention whores, while out photographing lightning at night with reflective magnets on my car I've had far fewer issues with law enforcement and more importantly with late night locals.

So call it what you will...but id rather have my magnet discourage a curious imbibed local than the alternative on my hip ( which btw was recommended by my local sheriff).
Likely excuse to have a needless Skywarn magnet on your vehicle. You have no substantial evidence to back up your theory on whether or not your tiny little Skywarn magnet resulted in having fewer stop and asks from police. It's pure randomness. In all the years I've been storm chasing, the times I've stood along a highway or dirt road at night shooting lightning, take a guess at how many times I was approached by law enforcement... just guess. The answer is 0. I never had a Skywarn magnet on my vehicle, and yet all these times I stood along highways or dirt roads at night not once did I have a cop stop.

And just so you know, when a cop is pulling in behind a vehicle he's focusing on the license plate and the surrounding environment, he's not looking at your Skywarn magnet. lol
 
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Sep 7, 2013
545
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Strasburg, CO
Well as worked up as you seem to want to get about it, my local sheriff has stopped plenty of times to see what I'm up to. When they've seen the magnets, they've immediately shut off their spotlights, whereas before magnets they used spots and blues and treated the situation as a suspicious stop until we spoke, thus ruining any exposures i had running...on making them better in some cases.

That said, they now recognize me and know what I'm up to, so the magnets go on when i set up at night to help ease curiosity of locals. Its easy...magnets look official, especially at night when i do most of my shooting, where i can use them to ward off people in general...but i dont use them and pretend to be important. They never go on during daytime chases.

So despite your amazing record of avoiding the law at night, some of us use the excuse of chasing weather to our advantage.

Also, fwiw, i took the class...and I do spot and report local weather...no reason I can't enjoy it and not be ashamed of a hobby I greatly enjoy. Just because you ride a high horse, doesn't mean you need to look down on everyone else.
 
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Todd Lemery

Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
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Menominee, MI
Saddle'em up boys! Here we go!
I'm not sure why people get so cranked up about little things like a Skywarn sticker or anything else on someone's vehicle. I don't have anything on my vehicle, but if someone else wants a sticker or wants to look like "ghostbusters" that really has no bearing on me. Hell, I like seeing the armored vehicles on the road.
My feeling is that as long as a fellow chaser isn't doing anything illegal, have at it. One issue that was brought up that I think has a good reason to fire a few people up, that I never thought of, was people giving their pictures and videos away for free. I know some chasers could really use a few extra dollars to help cover costs and the more people are giving the media freebies, the less money others will have the opportunity to make. That sounds like a legit discussion.
We are all different and yet still the same. We shouldn't expect others to conform to our own opinions. Feel free to get upset and rant about others who are different than you though, it's pretty entertaining.
 

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,475
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St. Louis
stormhighway.com
Just to keep this thread on topic, I'm going to start a new thread about stickers and the chaser vehicle 'look'. I'd like this thread to simply be an assist to the self-awareness of new chasers regarding controversial subjects.
 
Sep 29, 2011
632
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47
Fort Worth, TX
www.passiontwist.com
Like I mentioned in another thread, my only issue with the "look at me" stuff is when that's all there is....no real chasing behind it. As for me, I wasn't immune to the lure of proudly displaying my love of chasing and being a chaser. Check out my ST bio from 1999. Makes me cringe to read it today, but at the time, I was as enthusiastic (and proud to show it off) about my chasing as anyone ever was. http://www.stormtrack.org/old/1999/whoswho.htm#shaneadams