Target Area Rules - New

Jesse Risley

Staff member
Apr 12, 2006
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Target Area Rules

Administrative Note: After soliciting user input prior to the move to the new ST platform in late 2014 and early 2015, and after a series of final discussions among the staff members about those suggestions, a comprehensive restructuring of the Target Area rules is now being publicized as we approach the 2015 severe weather season.

The Target Area has always been Stormtrack's primary discussion area for severe weather events. Although the rules are relatively straight-forward, familiarizing yourself with them will help to minimize the moderation required to keep the signal-to-noise ratio at an acceptable level.

Thread types
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 simplify 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.

Beginners
If you consider yourself a beginner, you are welcome to contribute to Target Area. There are 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.
 
Last edited:
Nov 23, 2005
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If we are seeing an event in progress that would be "newsworthy" such as a damaging tornado, severe flooding, Yellowstone volcano erupting etc can we post it in the Weather in the News section as opposed to Reports? Gilbert's old Stormtrack worked like this, although at the time he made the decision of the cover story. Finally, we stick to weather here but in recent years Oklahoma has become the earthquake capitol of the US, could a damaging earthquake be included?
 

Mark Blue

Owner
Staff member
Feb 19, 2007
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Yes you can absolutely post those in the Weather In The News forum and members are encouraged to do so @Gene Moore. Original content such as breaking weather news helps to enrich the news feed across the website and that's what we're striving for. Thank you for bringing this up as I'm sure other members have been wondering about it as well.
 

Jesse Risley

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Apr 12, 2006
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I know the rules are in plain English, but maybe have a couple of "mock" posts stickied in the TA to let members know exactly what they should look like, and what content they can contain. Just a thought in case some members are still confused on how to do it.
That's a good idea, and something I can work on over the next few days.

It probably should be noted that old threads give a guideline for how to title a thread, but they're all in the old formats otherwise, e.g., DISC, MISC, FCST; however, one can peruse those to get an idea of the type of substance being asked for.

We're still trying to discourage so-called 'drive by' posts like "OMG - neat frigging video from CNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!" as a single reply in an EVENTS thread, for example - quality, quality! This is essentially what the members suggested when we solicited input, so this work reflects the best consensus that the staff could concoct based on what you, the forum members, asked for. The obvious caveat is that you can't make everyone happy, hence the use of "consensus," but I think this is the best we could offer - many thanks to @Jeff Snyder for taking the initiative to draft much of this behind the scenes.
 
Last edited:
Aug 16, 2009
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I think Jason was referring to another member who's recently posted in TA that's going to make my head hurt if the quality continues down that path...
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Wonder if there might be any consideration toward moving back to separate Forecast and Event threads, similar to in the past? There is often much to talk about both before and after an event, outside of just the technical forecast. Sometimes it’s a bit of a tangent about a certain meteorological topic because it comes up as a variable in the day, but it’s not necessarily significant enough to start a whole new thread. Or clarifying questions about chasers’ reports, which are not supposed to be asked in the Reports thread. Just a thought. Not suggesting we go back to 5 separate threads like before, maybe just 3 (Reports, Event/Forecast and Event/Misc). I guess it might help to know which types of posts have been problematic in the Events thread. Reports is pretty much black and white, that’s an easy one...
 
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Jesse Risley

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I guess it might help to know which types of posts have been problematic in the Events thread. Reports is pretty much black and white, that’s an easy one...
The two biggest offenders are reposted graphics with little, if any, authentic, meteorologically relevant commentary from the poster who dropped the image into the thread (e.g., simply reposting an SPC map or a sounding and nothing else) and short, mostly non-relevant "drive-by" posts that don't add any meteorologically relevant commentary to the discussion (e.g., "gonna fire soon!" or "readjusting my Target to Anytown, see y'all shortly").
 
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Mark Blue

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We can always discuss the merits of having another thread type if everyone thinks we need to. I’d be reluctant to change anything this year since we‘re into Spring chasing season already but next year is always out there. I’m a pretty easy going owner and want members to be happy and content.
 

Jeff Duda

EF6+, PhD
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I don't see a need to revert to the ways of the past. The EVENTS/REPORTS method has worked for the past several years.

Any event post-discussion/post-mortem belongs in the EVENTS thread. We still enforce quality of content in both threads, though. There should be no posting of "LOL SPC JUST WENT MODERATE FOR TOMORROW" or "OMG LOOK AT THE VELOCITY COUPLET ON THIS CELL (with an accompanied screen grab).

We all have access to SPC and just about everyone has some kind of radar analysis software (not to mention all the free stuff out there), so both posts are noise and unneeded. You can mention these things so long as it is part of a broader discussion or used to make a nuanced point that goes beyond "look at this!"
 

Warren Faidley

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May 7, 2006
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I do agree watches, warnings, etc., should not be posted in a forecast thread. However, there are some historically significant events that do warrant a "now" thread, as there use to be. I certainly plead guilty to posting about reports of chasers being hit by a tornado, or the historical and unusual long-track debris registration. It's easy to forget that ST is not a "news" source like social media and very few people come here for such information.
 

Jesse Risley

Staff member
Apr 12, 2006
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I do agree watches, warnings, etc., should not be posted in a forecast thread. However, there are some historically significant events that do warrant a "now" thread, as there use to be. I certainly plead guilty to posting about reports of chasers being hit by a tornado, or the historical and unusual long-track debris registration. It's easy to forget that ST is not a "news" source like social media and very few people come here for such information.
It's okay to post what would have been "NOW" discussions, graphics, and other discourse in an EVENT thread as it unfolds, provided that the content otherwise follows the rules (i.e., you are including original information, adding to the discussion, or otherwise giving relevant verbiage that adds to the flow of the thread).

I do think everyone realizes no approach will make everyone completely satisfied, but it definitely was confusing to many members having 3+ formats for discussion. The EVENT thread allows the discussion of a forecasts leading up to the event to morph into other general discussions during and after the event, with meteorologically relevant chatter too, of course, while keeping REPORTS sacrosanct for chasing briefs. The majority of feedback given at the time was that this format was less confusing. Understandably, however, some who have been around longer probably prefer the old method because we become acclimated to what we're most familiar with from the get-go.