• A friendly and periodic reminder of the rules we use for fostering high SNR and quality conversation and interaction at Stormtrack: Forum rules

    P.S. - Nothing specific happened to prompt this message! No one is in trouble, there are no flame wars in effect, nor any inappropriate conversation ongoing. This is being posted sitewide as a casual refresher.

Call for staff members -- 3 openings

... get this place going again ...

That's up to YOU! Blame it on the short comings of the staff (and there certainly are, myself included), technical glitches, influx of noobs, exodus of veterans... if there was a demand by all chasers for a centralized forum in which to communicate, people would be using this site and making it busy despite these issues. There are TWO reports in the 11/17 reports thread until today, and there were TWO forecast posts prior to the day of the event. It certainly wasn't a boring forecast, and I had to turn my Spotter Network placefile off because I couldn't see the radar scans through all the spotter positions. People just don't want to post here anymore. I don't think that's going to change much no matter who is running the show here.

Certainly the admin side of this forum is lacking, and there are many other contributing factors, but ultimately, I don't think there is the same demand for this forum as there used to be. If you want a storm chasing forum that's active, then contribute posts to this one, or make your own forum. Both of those approaches have been tried and aren't working, and it's because nobody wants to use forums anymore when they have Facebook and Twitter. Chasers Forum was supposed to address many of the short comings of this site, and it wound up exactly where Stormtrack was bound: just kind of a quiet place. We all wanted to see a thriving forum from the start, so we pitched in a few posts, but then folks got bored with it and went back to Facebook. People want quick photo sharing and blurbs, that are propagated in feeds, and shared everywhere. The quality of content here is certainly better than 99% of the Facebook chatter, but people want cheap and fast, not complicated, cumbersome and regulated.

There are lots of active internet forums, but I fear the ship has sailed for forums being the primary communication method for chasers, just like it did for WX-CHASE and the print version of Stormtrack. I'm sure folks we'll still use this forum as long as it's around, and people still use WX-CHASE, but the buzz has moved to Facebook, and will probably move someplace else again in a few years. It's a shame too, because Facebook is such a fractured cacophony of disorganized information.
 
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Well, when an Administrative Team member basically says forums are a lost cause, that speaks volumes about this one. I hate that you feel this way but I understand.
If the silly VB was allowed by its owner to have just a few of the cool social integration features available, it would integrate with social and work alongside it, not in competition with it.
 
I have gotten a wealth of knowledge off of Storm Track. Far more than I could gain from a social media site... I came into chasing long after the hard copy prints were done away with so this has been my main source for storm chasing and storm research. It's far better than going out there empty and learning by trial and error !!!
 
I think many people don't realize the value to themselves of posting to the forum. Posting in reports threads is a significant source of referral traffic and huge SEO boost for your web site, as ST is a high-ranking site in search engines. The high-quality content and lack of spam keeps this going. Viewership here is still good and has potential to be significant if participation improves.

The bottom line is that everyone stands to benefit if things would ramp back up here. I would welcome the day when ST is the daily read that it used to be. Facebook has its place, but really, it's kind of an example of what would have happened here if there was no moderation.
 
You know I wouldn't mind making a return and helping out. I agree with what SMOK is saying about what facebook has become. It is like an ocean of piss with a few islands here and there of dry land.
 
I know I stop by here a couple times a day even during the slow days when there are no posts at all. I'm not much of a thread starter (that probably needs to change) but love contributing to the conversations when I can, and still enjoy posting chase reports and reading about everyone else's chases as well. Part of this place becoming active again will be everyone participating, not being afraid to answer the same questions again and again from newbies and generating discussion rather than suppressing it. Every once in a while these days a good thread will get going here that gets everyone involved in some way, and it would be great to see that become the norm again rather than the exception.
 
Hey! I could finally log in! This is the first time I've been able to login IN YEARS (guess I should have tried from my iPhone when I first got one). I feel like I hit the jackpot and opened a room filled with cob webs hanging in every corner and space in between! How the hell is everyone!! I love this place!

Ok so social media has definitely taken a huge bite out of forums. That's a given and I have to wonder myself whether there is enough life in this forum to bring it back to life. It would be nice to see it up and running again, but the last time I got logged in whenever that was I remember that there were just as many petty arguments as there are on Facebook. I also remember some pretty respected/notable chasers getting banned for what I do not remember. It started to have the feeling of a forum run with prison rules. Rule #1....don't chase off the clientele. Not sure how you go about that when you have a melting pot that is growing everyday with every type of person imaginable with varying personalities. But it would be nice to see the place where I learned so much about WX and chasing to rise up again. I feel like I hear an echo as I'm typing this.
 
I can touch on the Facebook vs. Forum statements...

Since the creation and 'revolution' of the popular Facebook, message forums did lose many members to social network giants. However, it isn't always a bad sight. Most 'noobs' (people who are new and not interested in learning the niche) are on Facebook because that is where 'everyone' else is. 'Vets' or experts of a niche remain on message forums and also have a presence on Facebook and other social networks. Then you have your niche fans who know a bit but are not seen as niche experts at the moment. They tend to use message forums just as they would Facebook. Where ever the 'vets' or experts are, the fans will follow. So if you are an expert and you are on Facebook more, your fans and friends will also use Facebook more... or the other way around with forums. However there is a big need for proper social media optimization when running any type of interactive site that you want to get active.

I have a theory of a certain market to target when it comes to running niche forums and blogs... the newbies! Newbies are not Noobs... Newbies are new to the niche but willing to learn if they can get the right information. Now a lot of people dis newbies because they are unknown and have a lot of questions but many of these people don't realize the massive marketing value of these newbies. These people are looking for an expert to attach to... Why can't that be you?

Imagine the number of members you would get if you started targeting the niche newbie market. The problem is that people won't get off their high horse and leave big headed ego at the door. You can be a helpful and passionate expert that people go to for answers or you can be the stuck up expert that people turn away from, and find a different forum/site to be active on around a better and friendly expert.

The pool of newbies is quite larger than the pool of people who are experts or well educated of the niche. I target the newbies. That is why most every blog and forum I create is so successful. Meteorology isn't a big niche I target much anymore. I closed down IL Skywarn and Storm Chaser Forum along with Chaserpedia. I have lack of time to spend on them due to my increased passion for blogging and cycling. However, I still have a few meteorology-related sites that are doing quite well. I blame 'being a helping hand to everyone' on that success.

The internet is where people go to gain knowledge and get educated... why not get with the times and be a part of that?

Storm Track could really do well and once again dominate it's niche market but many changes would have to be made starting with active staff members, including the owner!
 
I don't see how a lack of chase reports being posted is the indicator that this place is dead. Most of the posting I always lament about was the random, day-in-the-life chase-related stuff...not actual chase forecasts or reports. I would post a link to my website (where I actually post chase summaries) but overall, I came to ST for the "shoot the bull" sessions we used to have as chasers.

Say what you want about it being on "us" to bring this place back to life, but a monster without a head just isn't a big draw. An active, vibrant ownership/administration (and I don't mean handing out bans and suspensions for posts that are too grown up for ST) would be a much bigger attraction IMO. Hey, maybe it wouldn't....but shouldn't we test the idea? Nothing else to this point has worked.

I come back to the archives once every year or so, and just spend an hour or two reading back through old threads. There are some real entertaining gems lying around there. I find myself even sometimes reacting to what I'm reading, and then I have to remind myself it was 2005 then LOL. I guess it's just a sign of the times. But I miss the days when this place looked (and read) like a forum where chases hung out and BS'ed with one another. Now it just looks like a big Q&A session from inexperienced people being answered by equally inexperienced people. That's not a knock on anyone, it's just the way the forum looks to my eye. I guess I miss the regulars that used to be here, the core that made up the majority of most topics. Given that, it's probably unlikely I'll ever get back what it is I'm looking for from ST, because most of those folks have moved on.

This conversation is a broken record, but it only keeps skipping because this forum keeps existing. Maybe it's time to try something new, or just let it die. Keeping ST around just to preserve the brand name, IMO, is doing it an injustice.
 
I do the same thing, Shane - some of the old threads are good reads that have led me on a whole evening of browsing. There are many quality discussions nowadays on Facebook that really could and should be here. On Facebook, those discussions get lost after a few days, never to be seen again. Ironically, many of the well-known vets of the hobby who have been long gone from ST and WX-CHASE are even active in those FB threads.

FB seems to scrape the bottom of the barrel in terms of signal-to-noise ratio, yet it's become acceptable for all. It seems that now more than ever, a quality forum would offer something for everyone, even those who left ST long ago. If one can put up with FB, certainly one could tolerate the comparatively mild idiosyncrasies of ST.
 
I recommend allowing at least 48 more hours for people to put in their names to be a STaff member. I just heard about the positions from a FB post and think once the word gets out, we will have some good names come forward. I personally don't feel qualified to help staff the forums, in the sense I don't frequent the forum as much as I used to. I do want to see someone that has been here for several years take the positions. Not that a new person can't offer anything, but if you were here back in the years when you had to write an essay just to join, you know how the forum worked, all the rules, etc. I think this forum could make a huge comeback if new changes took place. I'm sure others would agree.

Like SMOK said, Are you willing to sell the site? If we could get an admin that will dedicate all their time to the forums, the website will flourish. Definitely needs a makeover and new staff, new rules and guidelines for sub forums, etc. Would love to see ST come back to life.
 
There is indeed a drop off in public forecasting discussion among chasers. This occurred across the board of email lists and forums. There was an uptick with Facebook which of course means fractured discussion but fractured (i.e. limited dissemination) discussion is probably part of the reason things moved in that direction. It's erroneous to claim that conditions at Stormtrack are not a factor, however. There is interest in public discussion of forecasts and of course in sharing reports. Whether ST can be revived as a central resource for these and as a vibrant community is questionable but it is possible. I think it's only possible with change, however. It does not necessarily mean Tim should go. Tim did great work as I said previously. That shouldn't be minimized. Whatever reasons he cannot consistently participate, the resolution of this could be (1) passing the buck (2) relinquishing more control to a vetted party or to moderators which do not currently have the power to solve certain problems at the site.

It's not all on Stormtrack as an organization, however. More (currently dormant) users would have to participate. I hope if changes were made people would return and newer chasers would participate. Even now there are good posts and posters. I'd also like to see some kind of periodical or other iteration of well thought out articles, funnies, etc. of the kind that made print Stormtrack such a resource. That would be a lot of work I understand and people would have to step to the plate to make it happen. The ship may have sailed on that, but I do know there is some interest both from readers and from content providers. It might even work as a paid thing, formally produced and translated into some digital form. At the very least, there's no reason the Stormtrack website need only be a forum. It could host other resources such as it did in the past. It's a brand, has recognition, is highly placed in search engines, and would fill a certain void if properly executed.
 
Holy crap. There were 2 and a half fewer pages on this thread the last time I read it (yesterday)! Amazing how many people suddenly awakened from the depths of the lost body of members! That's great. I hope this is the beginning of the return to ST that I have mentioned to people in recent months.

Regarding Tim's level of participation on the forum: I agree that he has been more or less a ghost over the last few years. I applied directly to Tim for a moderator spot back in June and got a reply back a few weeks later saying he would get back to me. I have yet to hear back from him. I assumed the search for a new team of moderators had died.

I agree with Skip in that the forecast and reports threads have been conspicuously empty lately. I have not contributed much, if any, to those. Part of that has been because I've had a horrible year chasing and, frankly, have had little to report (other than failure and continually making the wrong decisions when it comes to picking a storm or going north or south). The other part is most events have not interested me (they've been too far away) or I've been too busy to make time for them. I'm in my third year working on my PhD and have been ridiculously focused on my general exam since early October. Before that I spent a week in Japan and spent time preparing for that. Skip, I read through your 11-17 forecast post multiple times. I felt replies were unneeded because, honestly, I thought your post covered every aspect of the forecast reasonably and accurately and I didn't feel there was anything of value that could be added to it. Clearly you put in a lot of time making that forecast and post. It showed in the quality of the post. Sometimes when someone hits the nail on the head like that, there just isn't much that can be added.
 
It'd be nice if Tim was more active in taking care of server issues, or at least bringing on a tech person that can kick the SQL server when things get slow/install patches/etc. Beyond that I wouldn't say it's a fault of Tim's at all. Facebook doesn't thrive because of Zuckerberg's personal interaction, it thrives because of the community.

Unfortunately, the storm chasing community has become very private and splintered because you no longer need to learn how to forecast to chase well, and because it's a competition to get likes and shares on Facebook to enhance your "chaser cred". You drive to the left edge of a risk area, then drive to the left edge of an MD, then drive towards the first tornado warned storm - bam, you bagged a tornado. That's not the "right" way to chase, but it works and many people do it now.

I really like when Duda or Marsh chime in on pre-frontal troughs or reading isentropic maps, but 99% of chasers don't care about that stuff, and the basics have been discussed to death.
 
You drive to the left edge of a risk area, then drive to the left edge of an MD, then drive towards the first tornado warned storm - bam, you bagged a tornado.


That only works 50% of the time or less. I have been chasing for many years, and I have been in the perfect position, or area a lot, and if 6 storms blow up at once, you may be close to a tornadic storm, or 60 miles away from one. You can also get to a warned storm that is already done, and the next one is too far to catch. It also sounds too much like following behind veteran chasers because they don't know much about storm chasing. Anyone who has had some success at your mentioned method is very lucky indeed.:cool:
 
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), the advent and continued refining of the high-resolution models has improved the success rate of those that take the "drive to the center of the risk" strategy. Not to mention, SPC accuracy has improved leaps and bounds in the last 10 years. 'SPC chasers" have it pretty good these days. Then, add to that the "find the ones who know what they're doing on Spotter Network" tactic. All of this gives a new chaser fairly good odds at success without ever having to learn how to read a hodograph or analyze a morning satellite loop.

That said, there are still plenty of 'sleeper' events out there to make forecasting knowledge and effort worthwhile. I find those rewarding. I admit I'm guilty of sometimes keeping quiet about those days and not posting publicly about it, because I feel like I've studied hard over the years to be able to notice those types of setups. I've learned the hard way that there are many out there who will leech with impunity off of your generosity and transparency for their own gain. It's disillusioned me some. I don't want to seem snobbish and unwilling to help, but in reality the same knowledge is out there for anyone to educate themselves if they're willing to put forth the effort. There are more resources to learn how to forecast now than ever before, most of it online even. I like to go into detail in my chase logs about why I targeted the way I did, after the fact. That way I can help others learn without giving target handouts. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but it could be that I'm not alone in feeling this way. You have the new chasers who don't need to learn forecasting, so they don't post in the threads. Then you have the more experienced chasers who are wary of giving out free targets and contributing to chaser convergence. I don't know if there is a solution to that.
 
I don't understand how new administrators or new rules or new owner... as has been mentioned by some, will suddenly make some people happy. I don't understand the need there. I can see how there are quirks now and then that need attention but they generally get taken care of, maybe I'm just not as picky as some or haven't experienced the problems some people do. If a person wants to talk weather then they can get on the forum and talk weather here, right? How is any of this keeping folks from doing that? Post some cool stuff. Isn't chasers posting chasing related stuff what makes this a great place? I don't see how that has changed. Some of the most knowledgeable chasers, in my opinion, post here. Some good photographers and people who spend a lot of time editing their chase videos have posted here the last couple of years. On this last event Scott Sims posted his experience and mistakes he made and why he did what he did, etc... as well as Dan. What great posts. As for quality of posts... can't folks just ignore the not so bright ones? I'm sure I've said some stupid stuff on this forum, probably even made a few folks grit their teeth. But I've been on Facebook for a little over a year and all the garbage on there?...from even those that say they are all about chasing? How is that better than this? And I love going back and looking at reports from past events. Why don't people post if they want this place to thrive? And it all stays here for later reference. I'm not just being an agitator here or something, I have seriously never understood the whole dynamic of all the whining and complaining and folks discomfitted over this or that. I visit another forum now and then and it's just a bunch of redneck construction type blue colar workers, " good ol boys" that own old diesel trucks like I do and they like to work on their trucks, I doubt 10 percent of them have college education. There is 10 times the traffic there and there is no whining and complaining or drama. Like many have said before, and I am including myself here... the chase community is full of a bunch of strange birds.
 
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I just tried to download iespell or whatever it is that checks spelling on this forum and my computer rejected it. I realized I misspelled "collar" above and maybe some others, but I'm not editing because my computer messes up what I just typed when I try to go back and edit. So just deal with it :)
 
I ran a phpBB forum post-undergrad so that our group of friends could keep in touch regularly as we spread across the country. Then Facebook came along and the need for my forum faded away. That said, I'm not at all plugged in to the Facebook/Twitter side of storm chasing, so I'd be really sad if Stormtrack faded away. I'd echo what Rob said, in that I don't necessarily see how heavier owner involvement/championing would change activity levels that much (though unique things like the 2014 chase target game are awesome and could draw traffic). As long as there's basic functionality and bots are weeded out, I'll keep posting my dumb little videos here :)
 
So... this post ended 10 months ago. Has anything changed? Is there more traffic? I know last season didn't help much, but do we at least have the 3 new staff members?
 
It's a status quo situation for the time being David. I'm not sure if or when it will change either (adding or changing staff members).
 
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