For the sake of newbies

Forward: I have really no weight to give ideas, but I believe in a semi-democratic ST. I believe we all can come forward with ideas that might help ST be a better place. I welcome the praise along with (and especially with) the criticism. I am an idea person - I love to give ideas and once one is chosen, support it fully and execute fluidly. Back to the regularly scheduled post:

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For the sake of newbies to ST,

NEEDS:

As a "budding" storm chaser, here is what I am in need of:

1) The chance to say, this is where I think severe weather will be and why(details of why)

2) If I am wrong or show a potential to be very wrong, I need someone to point that out - if I don't know I'm wrong...I must be thinking I'm right (I also need a pat on the back sometimes)

3) An environment conducive to my learning - that fosters and encourages assertions by newbies

4) Informative posts that detail where and most importantly, why severe weather happened at this location

5) I hate to say it, but almost more logical disagreements over where the TA will be and why. (The reasons for disagreement will help show the newbie where forecasting can or may be wrong) Warning: This must be respectful disagreement, not "You tard, you're just asking for a bust."

6) Informative resources on how to forecast better

I could probably think of more items...but in my mind, this is what I need to improve my skills.


POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS:

1) A sort of apprenticeship. An experienced person would be responsible for viewing (some not all) of the posts by the newbie. There might possibly be some assignments of some sort.

2) Get some past chase-day setups(graphics and all) and let the newbies jump on it. Newbies need regular checks and I think the more we can hammer down their throats, the better. They'll begin to see how things interact and such.

3) A goal or focus during the offseason(SDS) to preoccupy and give ST members a mission besides putting dvds together and selling them.

4) A test of some sorts that is needed to be taken before access is given to the TA forums (Map Room). The test is basically questions derived from what is posted in the rules concerning posting in the Map Room.

5) In their first one or two years of membership, newbies' weather forecasting threads must be reviewed.

6) The noise ratio for newbies (0-2? years) must be under 40%.

7) ST Advisors - select people who continually re-evaluate a section of ST to see how we can make it better. Publicly post these people so that complaints/praises can be directly routed to the proper people. These people may or may not be moderators, depending on their level of dedication and ability to use personal time for the sake of ST.

PROBLEMS/ISSUES:

1) I am not currently seeing the experienced chasers being there to help guide.

2) Levels of dedication are going to be a problem - newbs might fade in and out of interest or the journeyman or master reviewing might tire of always reading over posts

3) Newbs need to be responsible for their own learning.

4) Lots of paperwork/tracking/number-crunching is involved.

5) Too many chiefs?

6) Too many ideas, just let admin handle everything - trust their leadership
 
Originally posted by Edward Ballou
1) I am not currently seeing the experienced chasers being there to help guide.

I agree with much of what Chris said. I am experienced / expert considering I have been chasing for over 12 years and am pushing ~100 tornadoes I believe.

Typically when many people with experience post, no one really knows who the experienced people are. Sure they know who some of them are. But even I have a hard time sometimes knowing if it is just someone I hadn't heard of before with experience, or a new active chaser. Like Chris said often they simply get drowned out by others thinking they don't know any more than they do. On the other hand there really is no requirement that experienced chasers help guide. I've probably taught a few people a few things informally when I chase with them or interact on the net, but no formal program.

IMO most of the new chasers are very young in middle school, high school, or college. They typically have a lot of spare time and are often adept and used to chatting / posting online. A lot of more veteran storm chasers simply don't take the time to do this or just aren't that involved online with forums.

It takes an immense time to do this sort of stuff, and usually this is without any gain other than 'feel good' for helping out other new chasers. That is good and important, but there's only so much time in a day.

A lot of folks say that vets or experienced chasers hate the poor signal to noise ratio, and leave if they aren't worshipped or whatever. I'm not that way. Sometimes I get tired of repetitive, stupid posts which are disruptive - but in some bizarre ways they are also somewhat entertaining.

I don't know that the adminstration plans on doing anything organized within the Stormtrack forum to support the growth and education of new chasers. I know they support all chasers, but don't necessarily have the resources to be 'stewards' to young chasers. This sounds a bit like a Boy Scouts program and is not a bad idea, but not sure if it will get supported.

It's actually kind of a cool idea, but you'd have to find experienced chasers willing to provide structure, documentation, time, etc to help guide other chasers. Not sure what the liability of such a thing would be either. You train people and someone gets hurt then who gets blamed?

I think Stormtrack is really more setup to be a loose 'freelance' organization supporting all levels of chasers. It's cool if some chasers want to provide resources, and it's good when Stormtrack posts FAQs, links to old articles, etc to assist the learning of various people. So far there really are no 'chaser schools'. Tim creates some manuals and there are those that teach meteorology and chasing in books. There are also forecasting classes. Hmmm....interesting concept. Rather than tours I could offer storm chase classes in the field with examples for pay. That might be cool, fun, and rewarding. I may have to reflect on that.

Anyway, it remains to be see what ST will fully support, but I think it will most likely be a learn on your own, 'freelance' program of learning.
 
I guess overall, what I'm hinting at is that if there's a noisy TA post, don't let it just go by. Inform the poster of the lack of quality information in the post..."Hey, you're making some good observations but you need a bit more info. We appreciate your enthusiasm, but continue to study up." Something along these lines.

What would be even better is something along the lines of, "I don't know if you got a chance to look at the MCS to the south that could possibly choke off the inflow. Also the cap is too strong there because..."

Perhaps there could be an offseason class for newbies hosted by experienced members. Every few weeks have a setup, have newbies pm in their TA's, and then after a certain time, let the final experienced analysis with results be known.

I know this is treading into Tim's ground of teaching how to forecast. Can I be so bold as to suggest that maybe a private group be set up for newbies who want to take this class? Perhaps a nominal fee could be associated with it? Again, this would be during the offseason so that we wouldn't be interfering with peak chasing time.

I'm good coming up with ideas, but I guess not so good at solutions. I'll continue to post more as I think of them. Keep the thoughts coming...this is a sounding board.
 
Originally posted by Edward Ballou
I know this is treading into Tim's ground of teaching how to forecast.

Well it's true that Tim teaches chase oriented severe forecasting classes and I believe he partnered with Tim Marshall or Gene Rhoden for a chase handbook I believe, but as far as I know no one has a storm chasing class with the pseudo exception of College of DuPage that lets their met students chase and learn http://weather.cod.edu/chasing/.
 
Originally posted by Chris Rozoff
...I've noticed some \"experts\" come into the forums, write a post, and they are quickly drowned from getting a message across as they get \"noised out\". <snip> Therefore, I would prefer even stronger noise restrictions than you propose (40 %).
Chris, I wholeheartedly agree with your noise observation. It is obviously a major contributor to the problem of veterans not contributing as much as we would like. However, I believe your suggestion is not likely to help in the way we would expect.

The "noise restriction" is based solely upon a members' post ratio in B&G. But, as you illustrate in your example, it is not the noise in B&G that is the problem. It is the noise in the on-topic threads that is the problem! Take a look at the on-topic threads right now and you'll see there is still plenty of noise here. The statistic does nothing to address the real problem, which is noise in the on-topic forums.

Focusing on the people posting over 60 percent in B&G is misguided, and actually counterproductive. At least those people are making noise in the right place! It's like punishing everybody who has an occasional beer for the sins of all drunk drivers. We need to focus our concerns on those who are getting behind the wheel, not those who are sitting at home and watching the game.
 
It's probably better to have this discussion and suggest board changes later after the dust settles a bit. What I think I'm going to suggest is the addition of a forum called something like the Classroom (Kibbitzroom? Peanut Gallery? Bleachers?) where the armchair chasers and newbies hang out. I would then limit the current Map Room posts (FCST, NOW, REPORT) to members who will be or are themselves directly involved in chasing on a given day/event. "Directly involved" means being either on the road themselves or specifically appointed as a "nowcaster/homebase" in a post by a member who is themselves chasing.

In otherwords, if I were chasing NOW and ST members A and B were armchair chasers I wanted in on the thread, I would open up my NOW posting slot and say, "Members A and B are nowcasting for me", and A and B can post. Everyone else stays the heck out of the Map Room thread and can second-guess, admire the hook on the radar, discuss how I and nowcasters A and B are way off the mark, etc., in the Classroom forum.

From my observation, IMHO this should probably work ok and the veterans will like it, too!

[edit: on reflection, I don't think ad hominem kibbitzing or discussion of specific chasers' efforts should be allowed anywhere except PM or by the chasers' own designated armchair casters. Classroom discussion of an event should focus on the event only unless the chaser themself opens it up for criticism.]
 
Originally posted by David Wolfson
It's probably better to have this discussion and suggest board changes later after the dust settles a bit. What I think I'm going to suggest is the addition of a forum called something like the Classroom where the armchair chasers and newbies hang out.
I like both ideas, David. :D

As for the noise ratio, I think the best thing we could do to improve it would be to better define the appropriate content of each forum. For example, I think that about half the topics that are currently active in "Weather Lab" belong in B&G. Things like "your favourite photos of XX," "your biggest bust," and "coping with SDS" are not appropriate for "Weather Lab," and are exactly the reason that the mets want no part of it.

I'm not diminishing the value of those topics. I personally like them. But they are not really weather discussions. They are lounge chat.
 
Hahaha! I suspect you are right. :lol:

The problem with focusing on the B&G post count is significant, and should be considered by Admin.

1. It encourages people to post crap in the on-topic forums.

2. It discourages people from posting crap in the B&G forum.

Simply put, people are worried about their so-called "noise ratio" going up, but not concerned enough about it to stop posting noise. So what they do instead is post their noise in "Weather Lab" and try to pass it off as on-topic. Then they are statistically rewarded for this destructive behaviour, while those who actually keep their noise in an appropriate forum are punished.

Just like any statistic, it looks great on paper, but in reality it doesn't pan out and indicates the existence of something that isn't really there.
 
Originally posted by Edward Ballou
And as usual, the thread digresses way off topic. This was intended to be about newbies and helping them.
Sorry, Edward. I apologize. There are so many similar threads running concurrently in this forum that it is hard to keep them straight.

If I might attempt to make the last couple of posts semi-on-topic...

My point was that the current method of deciding what is noise and what isn't is not effectively addressing the problem. And the biggest problem the newbies currently face is being unfairly labled as the greatest source of the noise when in fact they are not. If we can overcome this misconception, then we will be well on the track to addressing the needs of newbies, as well as the membership at large.
 
I think helping newbies is a noble and honorable thing. When i started 4 years ago prior to me finding stormtrack i was unable to find anyone to help me. I would send messages to people whos websites I found on the net asking for them to let me ride with them and film etc.. As I do documentaries which has been my focus and how I got into chasing fulltime anyways.

I actually got on the internet studied, weent to a spotter class or two, took my scanner (Noaa weather radio) and some maps and jumped in the car and drove 400 miles and was somewhat succesful. WOW!

I have to say that learning without all this wizbang gadgetry that I have since purchased was good for me and as im sure it would be for others.

No doubt many stormchasers are an elitist group of folks. I even caught myself with that attitude with a young man in Emporia who asked me what outfit we were with to chase storms (are you from the govt?).. We all laughed and told him NASA. It was certainly funny then but in retrospect it was hateful and unbecoming.

I think we have alot of work to do myself included in helping the "newbies" that want to learn to chase and do it safely. And with that I think Ill go study some more ;) As although the other thread calls me an experienced chaser I feel like a newbie comparatively when it comes to forecasting and deciphering weather data. My sixth sense is strong Jedi Master and my tools are state of the art... lol
 
Before this season I PMed one of the better forecasters/chasers on here and asked him if he would tell me when I was going wrong with my forecast and answer questions I had. I think this would probably be the easiest and most effective way of solving some of the problems Edward mentioned. The vast majority of people on here are more than willing to help in any way they can. All you have to do is ask. IMO communicating through PM is a much better way of learning than posting in a thread anyways. When you are working one on one with somebody, you have the chance to become more comfortable with them and you can ask questions that you wouldn't want to post for the world to see. I have gotten answers to some pretty dumb questions of mine that I wouldn't have ever dared post. You can PM you forecast and target and ask them to critique it. Anways it worked pretty well for me and I figured I would throw it out there.
 
Originally posted by Edward Ballou

6) Informative resources on how to forecast better

Edward,

Regarding this aspect of your list, may I suggest a page that was incredibly beneficial to myself when my interest in severe weather and chasing began.

Allan Rosenberg's Selected Internet Resources for the Beginning Storm Chaser

This page was and still is probably one of the best resources around for helping those new to chasing learn the basics. I last updated the links in 2002, so there's bound to be a few dead ones, but last I checked most of them seemed to be working. Also, if anyone does hit some dead links, I would appreciate a pm or e-mail informing me of them. Thanks.

Jason
 
Yep, that's a great source and I think it should be made a part of Stormtrack or at least linked from here. Actually, I think originally it was.
 
Im in the opinion of if you jsut dont like a post then skip it and go to the next. Takes 2 sec......
This is a forum not a classroom or research facility.
 
Yeah, it may only take two seconds, but when your talking about entire threads full of useless posts, it's a different story. One area of great concern is the Map Room. You see the same people over and over again violating the rules - it only takes two seconds to NOT post useless information.

Too bad the newbies or those who know very little about chasing or meteorology can't have a section to their own, similar to the FAQ, while giving them read-only permission for all other forums.
 
Originally posted by Edward Ballou

NEEDS:

As a \"budding\" storm chaser, here is what I am in need of:

1) The chance to say, this is where I think severe weather will be and why(details of why)

2) If I am wrong or show a potential to be very wrong, I need someone to point that out - if I don't know I'm wrong...I must be thinking I'm right (I also need a pat on the back sometimes)

3) An environment conducive to my learning - that fosters and encourages assertions by newbies

I always felt that the old TA was much like this. Newbies were more than welcome to post their forcasts; there was nothing in the TOS there that required forcasts to be right, just that they be an honest effort. I often would post my forcasts with the hope that someone would point out my mistakes, and often they would. This, to me, is a great way to learn, and most people knew not to read my forcasts and try to plan a chase with them. (Woe be to he who did!)

Originally posted by Edward Ballou
4) A test of some sorts that is needed to be taken before access is given to the TA forums (Map Room). The test is basically questions derived from what is posted in the rules concerning posting in the Map Room.

5) In their first one or two years of membership, newbies' weather forecasting threads must be reviewed.

6) The noise ratio for newbies (0-2? years) must be under 40%.

Again, this suffers from the same problem: who has time to administer such tests? It's probably a much greater time investment than most can afford, and I don't know if it can be demonstrated in advance that the benefit exceeds the cost.

7) ST Advisors - select people who continually re-evaluate a section of ST to see how we can make it better. Publicly post these people so that complaints/praises can be directly routed to the proper people. These people may or may not be moderators, depending on their level of dedication and ability to use personal time for the sake of ST.

This could be a good idea, so long as volunteers can be found willing to do it. It's good in that it's organized and gives users a constructive outlet to voice their opinions and feel that what they think is important to those who make the decisions. Anything that builds a sense of community like that can't hurt, in my opinion. :)
 
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