Spotter Network "Note" field

Mar 6, 2005
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There's been a lot of talk about bogus reports being sent in via Spotter Network (like the one John Wetter just pointed out from Dupage Co. IL last night). However, there's a new trend I'm noticing. What is up with people putting cheesy "one-liners" in their notes field on SN? They don't do any good for anyone. It does not help the NWS in any way, and if you ask me, it could encourage others to do the same thing (and possibly encourage more of this bogus reporting). It can be a useful field when storm spotting/chasing-relevant information is put in there. I'd think the NWS meteorologists who see these may not take the reports quite as seriously. I know I wouldn't. Just a thought.
 
May 31, 2004
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Whoa boy.....is it the off-season already? :rolleyes: Probably not as big of a deal as one makes it out to be, but I can probably see somewhat of a point if people were mobile. I guess I use a "cheesy" one - liner, but that is only my base location. Never when I am out in the field or relaying reports, so I guess just because I have something written in my NOTE section, the poor little town wont get my warning because I am a yahoo with a cheesy one-liners written all over my SN ID. :p

I also fail to see the comparison between a couple non-chasing chasers having some fun on a day where they are at home to people thinking it's okay to post bogus reports?
 
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May 22, 2007
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Lawrence, KS
www.chasethestorms.com
There's been a lot of talk about bogus reports being sent in via Spotter Network (like the one John Wetter just pointed out from Dupage Co. IL last night). However, there's a new trend I'm noticing. What is up with people putting cheesy "one-liners" in their notes field on SN? They don't do any good for anyone. It does not help the NWS in any way, and if you ask me, it could encourage others to do the same thing (and possibly encourage more of this bogus reporting). It can be a useful field when storm spotting/chasing-relevant information is put in there. I'd think the NWS meteorologists who see these may not take the reports quite as seriously. I know I wouldn't. Just a thought.
The NWS & Emergency Management has their own contact information that you don't have access to. The notes that you see are in the General Public form. How would my note field saying: "We've got cows!" encourage bogus reporting?
 
The NWS & Emergency Management has their own contact information that you don't have access to. The notes that you see are in the General Public form. How would my note field saying: "We've got cows!" encourage bogus reporting?
Actually, "We've got cows" would be passed through with your report. All comments are retained in reports sent in to a WFO.

--Al
 
Nov 18, 2006
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Chicago, IL
Actually, "We've got cows" would be passed through with your report. All comments are retained in reports sent in to a WFO.

--Al
Really? I know there is a notes field within the report form but I didnt think the note that is attached to your SN icon would show up in a report. Are the two being mixed up maybe? I know allot of chasers also put any web adress theyre associated with in the note section as well.

Im guilty of the occasional one-liner myself but I never saw the harm, if they do show up on the reports I honestly did not know that and will remove it.
 
I think Jarrod is talking about when you scroll over a spotter network icon with your mouse pointer, at the bottom of the information box there is an area where you can add a "note". I also have noticed some crazy notes by a few people. If I were to add "I ate at taco bell and now have a RFD" under my note for an example and I submitted a Spotter Network report, then in a few cases the NWS may not take your report seriously thinking that you are not very mature/professional.
 
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I think Jarrod is talking about when you scroll over a spotter network icon with your mouse pointer, at the bottom of the information box there is an area where you can add a "note". I also have noticed some crazy notes by by a few people. If I were to add "I ate at taco bell and now have a RFD" under my note for an example and I submitted a Spotter Network report, then in a few cases the NWS may not take your report seriously thinking that you are not very mature/professional.
Oops, I misread the the original post. I thought the discussion involved comments contained within the narrative portion of the reporting gui.

You are correct, the info contained within your user account "Note" is *not* appended to your severe weather report.

--Al
 
May 31, 2004
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Peotone, IL
illinoisstormchasers.com
I think Jarrod is talking about when you scroll over a spotter network icon with your mouse pointer, at the bottom of the information box there is an area where you can add a "note". I also have noticed some crazy notes by by a few people. If I were to add "I ate at taco bell and now have a RFD" under my note for an example and I submitted a Spotter Network report, then in a few cases the NWS may not take your report seriously thinking that you are not very mature/professional.
That I can understand. Like I said before I only use something stupid like that when I am based, have no intention of chasing and/or reporting. If it really does ruffle feathers then forget it, just won't do it anymore. I know using the NOTE section on a chase is useful, in fact many more people should use the NOTE section to report the HEAVY LIGHTNING 30 MPH WINDS instead of actually submitting a report.

EDIT: Okay so now it will NOT appear?
 

John Wetter

SN President
Staff member
Dec 11, 2005
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I guess I don't see a problem with putting whatever you want in your 'notes' field that displays on mouse-over. It isn't getting in anyone's way, and isn't sent to the NWS. I guess I don't really see issue with that... I've put things in there. It's the bogus reports that really just bother me.
 

Shane Adams

This is an ongoing theme in the weather weenie world: the dislike of any posting/text/whatever that shows personality, individuality, or otherwise anything colorful or stylish. Weather nerds want sterile, boring, to-the-point submissions. Look at WX-CHASE.

IMO this is all moot anyway. It's so much easier to hit a button and actually talk to the NWS. Takes less than sixty seconds and you don't have to look away from the road to do it.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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The advantage to SpotterNetwork is that it's instant, it's distributed directly to other users, and it's plotted directly on a map. Nobody needs to interpret locations - your GPS maps it out perfectly.
 
May 31, 2004
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Peotone, IL
illinoisstormchasers.com
This is an ongoing theme in the weather weenie world: the dislike of any posting/text/whatever that shows personality, individuality, or otherwise anything colorful or stylish. Weather nerds want sterile, boring, to-the-point submissions. Look at WX-CHASE.
I couldn't have said it any better. In the case of my comments on there, it is an ongoing joke and inside joke with myself and 4 others that if you talk "trash" to the storm it'll get mad and ravage you. lol as dumb as that may sound it is just a superstition!!!
 
Al and I are aware of the increase in bogus reports and we actually worked out a plan today to help combat that going forward.

What we believe is happening is that as more and more people learn about the SN, more and more "bad reporters" are joining the ranks.

We will be putting a much closer eye on quality going forward.

Having said that....Al is about to publish some statistics that over all, the reports have been outstanding...there just happens to be some really really bad reports every once in a while :). This is a general topic of discussion within the ranks of the NWS/EMA/etc. There is one side that would rather get no good reports if that means they have to deal with a couple bad ones...while the other side is willing to accept an occasional bad report in exchange for more good reports. We're trying to walk the fine line in-between.
 
I think the bogus reports have been on the rise for the last few months. I tend to think that some sort of system should be implemented before a user even joins Spotternetwork. Something along the lines of the short essay that you must author before joining StormTrack.....?

With the implementation of reports in IEM.....some offices will get tired of these useless reports that are entered especially if it is done on a regular basis. If these people were even trained in SKYWARN they would know that the NWS prefers only reports of severe weather *Hail of > .75" and winds of 58mph* and damage.....not just general thunderstorms. I'm sure you can get away with some of the more meager reports on days of pulse activity like we have here in the south during the summer.

This is certainly not something that should continue. I'm sure that Tyler and the gang are doing all they can to isolate the issues. :)
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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"If these people were even trained in SKYWARN they would know that the NWS prefers only reports of severe weather *Hail of > .75" and winds of 58mph* and damage"

That's when you are talking about regular communications methods... We all (including NWS) want non-severe reports, since it confirms that a storm we might be on the edge about warning is not doing anything at ground level.

It's the "lightning looks scary" ones that are the problem, not "pea sized hail."
 

Jesse Risley

Staff member
Apr 12, 2006
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On your account settings, there is a tab that allows you to insert personal information that only NWS/EMA have access to. I've always put my local NWS Office Spotter ID number in that space.

While I understand that not all NWS offices issues spotter numbers or even maintain a current database, for those that do, having this information in your profile (spotter ID or most recent FO training session) might lend a bit more credibility to the person reporting. I don't see where it could hurt.
 
Mar 6, 2005
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Jeeze. Despite what a few posters may think, I have a sense of humor too and don't have any problem with inside jokes. I just think there are better outlets for them than the spotter network. If that makes me a boring wx-weenie, then you can think that.

I know this is not nearly as big of a deal as the bogus reporting. I'll admit when I started this thread, I had forgotten that the NWS/EMA has their own contact information you can display. However this doesn't mean that absolutely no NWS or EMA people will never see the public comments. And I know if they did see the one-liners that doesn't necessarily mean they will automatically think lower of that person, but I can easily see the ones who are already sick of the bogus reporting also think lower of these comments in the notes fields.

The main purpose of SN is to provide an easy and accurate method for chasers and spotters to sumbit reports and provide position information to NWS - who are professionals. What's wrong with trying to act semi-professional on the other end (SN) by the information you provide? You'd do the same thing if you called them on the phone!
 
We all (including NWS) want non-severe reports, since it confirms that a storm we might be on the edge about warning is not doing anything at ground level.
I was just going to write something like that, but see you have it covered. I don't think that sub-severe reports are necessarily a bad thing, as it can confirm the non-severity of a storm.

There have been plenty of instances where an SVR has been issued for my exact location -- and the radar definitely looks ominous -- but the most I encounter is very heavy rains and a brief 35MPH gust. I would say that's a pretty important report.
 
Mar 6, 2005
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I was just going to write something like that, but see you have it covered. I don't think that sub-severe reports are necessarily a bad thing, as it can confirm the non-severity of a storm.

There have been plenty of instances where an SVR has been issued for my exact location -- and the radar definitely looks ominous -- but the most I encounter is very heavy rains and a brief 35MPH gust. I would say that's a pretty important report.
I agree. I've actually made a report on SN once like this. They had a SVR issued for where I was, and I sent a report stating the winds were only 35-40 MPH and no hail, and they canceled the warning soon after.
 

Shane Adams

I was just going to write something like that, but see you have it covered. I don't think that sub-severe reports are necessarily a bad thing, as it can confirm the non-severity of a storm.

There have been plenty of instances where an SVR has been issued for my exact location -- and the radar definitely looks ominous -- but the most I encounter is very heavy rains and a brief 35MPH gust. I would say that's a pretty important report.
This is an interesting point. I think the main reason it's generally accepted that sub-severe reports are a waste of time, is because the whole principle of having spotters in the field is to protect life and property...not much danger from benign, non-severe stuff.

However, on the flip-side, it is a good thing to provide ground truth relative to radar observations, for both severe and non-severe events, because regardless of what side of the threshold we're dealing with, the results are the same: increased knowledge and understanding of what's really happening with storms VS what the radar shows.

Maybe we need a new breed of wx-observer, the ones who simply go out and report any activity within a storm, for the main purpose of radar interpretation. It would be like spotting but in the interest of radar technology/science first. Then again, I'm sure many have had this same epiphany before.
 

rdale

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Mar 1, 2004
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"I think the main reason it's generally accepted that sub-severe reports are a waste of time, is because the whole principle of having spotters in the field is to protect life and property..."

Actually it's because previous forms of communications (ham radio, phone) meant that the report of blue skies tied up the line, so a tornado report gets missed or delayed. Now with SN being automatic, that simply isn't an issue.
 
Mar 30, 2008
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IWX thanked me last Friday for sending in pea sized hail and 45-50 mph wind reports - sub severe. They were on the brink of warning the cell and held off for awhile because of my report. (They even told me that over IEM Chat)

Maybe the WFO's in the plains don't care as much, but I'm guessing the Midwest/Eastern WFO's really appreciate the sub-severe reports so they can overlay real reports with their radar. Otherwise they're just relying on radar (And last time I checked, that is a bad thing to do according to ST...........)
 
Apr 4, 2006
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I generally only phone in reports when I have reportable criteria. For non-severe reports, and post storm reports, I use the web form on the local NWS website, except when it's obvious that it's time critical (i.e, warning verification/decision). That way I'm not wasting time that might be needed elsewhere.
 
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Well sometimes I don't think it does any good to submit reports via SN or by calling in reports directly to the NWS. For example early this morning as Hanna was making landfall I called in a report directly to the NWS near the time of occurrence and submitted it via SN and neither showed up on the LSR's. I guess stating that you are a Met Grad doesn't mean anything when calling in reports. I'm sorry for sounding like I'm on a rampage but I have just had to many bad experiences calling in reports stating that I am a Met Grad student assuming that would add more validity to the report but Bubba Bob Coop Observer calls in a report of a broken plum tree branch or sheriffnado and bam it gets slapped on the LSR. I'm just hoping the wind report I called in this morning was of some valuable use being that it was instrument recorded. The reason I am a little mad is bc I know they use the data to go over storm events sometimes but they can't use a report they don't have or haven't submitted.
 
Just because your report didn't show up on an LSR doesn't necessarily mean anything. Someone could have called in and reported the same thing, in which case there is no sense in reporting it twice. Each report of hail or wind damage, including multiple reports of the same thing, are classified as separate events. Maybe the report wasn't jiving with what they saw on radar or other reports they were getting. Maybe they wanted a second confirmation before sending it out. Maybe they are going to wait and send out a mass LSR after everything is in. There could be any number of reasons for this.

Some offices don't like to issue tornado LSRs during the event unless they are absolutely sure. Once an LSR is issued, it's basically impossible to "take back" and correct the report. Can a correction be issued? Sure. It will also probably be corrected before the official Storm Data is issued, but once it's already been transmitted and is out there, users are going to take the info and run with it.

Most of your general media types (reporters, not necessarily mets) only see info on LSRs. How many times have we heard, "There were over 500 tornadoes today!" LSRs can become tricky buisness.