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Stormtrack changes *** MANDATORY READING ***

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Effective immediately, the Stormtrack forum has undergone a major reorganization for the first time since its inception in 2003. As we are getting into a new workweek and I have business and family to attend to, I find that I cannot spend any more time on mediating the hundreds of messages concerning the private group, the Everything Else situation, and the board's lack of focus on chasers. This is the solution you are all presented with, so please make the best of it. I appreciate the input of the moderators, the cross-section of ST regulars who I contacted, and the individuals on that private group (many of whom supported its elimination to create a unified, quality-driven Stormtrack).

(1) Stormtrack\'s purpose is to provide quality discussion for and about chasers. We are not obligated to provide anything beyond that. It would be great to cater to weather weenies, observers, spotters, and amateur scientists, but there are other sites available for that. Our longtime members have expressed a firm desire for us to return to our roots. This reorganization will bring the board back to center with David Hoadley and Tim Marshall's vision of what Stormtrack was meant to be. It was never intended to be a mass-market magazine but rather a fun "trade publication" to serve the needs of the storm chaser.

(2) All users will conduct theirselves in a civil and professional manner. Stormtrack is enforcing a higher standard. Any kind of argument that questions, ridicules, or humiliates another member's character (whether direct or through sarcasm) is considered to be a violation of our standards and will result in suspension. If you are attacked or have a problem with another member, contact me or a moderator and we'll deal with it. If you reply (even in defense), you risk coming under suspension too regardless of who started it. Exceptions cannot be made for old-timers here as this would condone the intimidation of newcomers. To summarize, attack the point, not the person.

(3) High membership standards are now mandatory. New users will not be approved without evidence that they have been an active chaser or are active in meteorology (AMS membership, college met major, etc). Notable chase and research names are always a shoe-in. Exceptions to the rules are made on a case-by-case basis. We regret that this will result in some promising beginners being barred, but again, we will review all appeals on a case-by-case basis, and they can still read much of the board regardless.

(4) The private board has been eliminated. Stormtrack will not host any more areas hidden from the membership except for staff management areas. The moderators comprise the only "elevated" class of membership.

(5) There is no more membership list for Target Area (Map Room). Members are now responsible for the consequences of posting here. Failure to follow the rules, including contributing low quality material, will result in suspension. Also note that the TALK category has been discontinued; only FCST, NOW, and REPORT will be permitted.

(6) All messages have been placed in an archive area. We are starting Stormtrack on a clean slate effective immediately. The older posts are available in a separate archive for your perusal. The Everything Else posts have shelved. Some areas with encyclopedic content have been exempted. The Newbie area has been discontinued as this material should be in the Lab area; any enterprising user is always welcome to distill the most useful posts into a FAQ.

(7) Chaser Bar & Grill will be our new forum for off-topic conversations. The inclusion of the word "Chaser" should illustrate that posts should center on our own lives rather than on the media. Political and religious discussion is not permitted except by special permission. There has been a strong move to eradicate these boards, however I have strongly vetoed the idea as the boards are an important social glue. This is the compromise we have made.

(8) Check your Everything Else posting ratio at http://www.stormtrack.org/forum/stats.htm . If you're at 60% or greater and have 10 or more total posts, you are not permitted to post in Chaser Bar & Grill. We've had a lot of complaints about certain users who have hung out in Everything Else while contributing little to the weather discussions. This is the fairest method we could devise, and it has virtually no effect on our die-hard chaser membership. We will regenerate the list periodically, so if you're approaching 60%, please ration your use of the Bar & Grill board to keep under the threshold. Those 60% or above must wait until their ratio drops or may choose to have their account deleted and wait one month for Bar & Grill privileges. (Yes, that's my wife in there at the #17 slot and it will apply to her too)

(9) Three more moderators will be chosen, one this month and two in September. The first will be by popular vote, the next two have yet to be decided. I will start a separate thread for this. This will help inject some fresh blood into Stormtrack's leadership.

(10) Chronic non-posters and old accounts have been pruned out, lowering the membership total to 641 users. These individuals may easily read our public message boards without logging in, and may reapply for membership if they want to participate.

(11) The Map Room and Chaser Bar & Grill are not viewable to guests. This is a compromise made to the "private group", some of whose members were concerned about forecast posts drawing the hordes (media, yahoos, etc) to their spot. The Bar & Grill is private (as Everything Else was) to keep our laundry out of public sight and to curb non-weather signups.

With that said, please wait awhile before starting complaint threads about the current system, or PM me about it. We all need a break now and need to focus on weather. No more major changes are going to get implemented in the near term anyway. In a couple of weeks we will be more responsive to suggestions about the board.


Tim Vasquez
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