Author Topic: The new TAC is getting old  (Read 12869 times)

RBA

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The new TAC is getting old
« on: February 07, 2015, 03:05:33 PM »
I know there's tons of hours of work behind this web site, and maybe that's why no one has come forward - out of respect for the work done by people who just wanted to make things better and asked nothing in return - but the way I see it, in order to work around Yahoo's stupidity (that was the trigger IIRC), TAC feels like dying. There was a dynamic, lively communication among TACos via the email list. This place on the other hand feels like a cemetery.  And the email notifications feature just doesn't cut it.  There's still millions of email groups working on the net, did we really have to change the way we communicate? Just saying, this area is called RANTS so take it as such  ;)

Rogelio

Lumpy Darkness

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2015, 09:30:13 PM »
Here is an example of a mailing list that appears active and seems to function by email.
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/sjaaobservers/info

Peter Natscher

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2015, 07:37:43 AM »
I agree with Rogelio in that hardly anyone post OI's anymore.  There are just a few of us regulars who do hoping that other's will join in to meet up as we did 5,10,15 years ago.  Those who are getting out to observe, and those who used to post OI's on TAC, are doing so with their own groups now.  TAC is pretty dead. Even the original core members don't post OI's on TAC, thay have teir own secret group -- wonder why.

Lumpy Darkness

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2015, 08:05:31 AM »
Peter,

I agree. First to answer your last question.  In my case, I observe on private property now, and the site holds no more than about five people. So, that's a big limiting factor compared to the old days at Fremont Peak, Coe and Dinosaur Point.

I'd love to see TAC very active again.  I've posted several threads about this.  One on how can we get newcomers involved (beginner section).  Another recently (visual section) asking about interest in 3rd Quarter observing get togethers at Henry Coe.  I'm all for getting people out together observing.  Its fun.

If you look at TAC, and the Meetup Group that is attached to it, here's what you'll find.  TAC has 180 registered members on this forum.  There are probably 2X or 3X that who visit without being registered, maybe John Pierce can say how many from web-stats.  I'm guessing.  On Meetup.com, the AANC page (which directs to this forum) has 550+ members.

If we brainstorm how to get these people *active* on the forum, plan and go out to observing sites on a regular basis, we can have something of a "return to old TAC", I'm sure.  But, there has to be a plan, and execution.

I will also say, while I'm grateful for this forum, I think it kinda sucks in terms of functionality compared to the old e-mail list.  The e-mail list was instantaneous.  Receive an e-mail, reply.  Period.  This forum is cumbersome by comparison, and I think that creates a barrier as well.

Mark


I agree with Rogelio in that hardly anyone post OI's anymore.  There are just a few of us regulars who do hoping that other's will join in to meet up as we did 5,10,15 years ago.  Those who are getting out to observe, and those who used to post OI's on TAC, are doing so with their own groups now.  TAC is pretty dead. Even the original core members don't post OI's on TAC, thay have teir own secret group -- wonder why.

Peter Natscher

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2015, 08:19:32 AM »
Mark said: "I agree. First to answer your last question.  In my case, I observe on private property now, and the site holds no more than about five people. So, that's a big limiting factor compared to the old days at Fremont Peak, Coe and Dinosaur Point".

So there it is.  How can you expect past TACO's and newbies to embrace TAC when a few of you are privatizing your own observing interests at your own location. That's elitism.  In the 'old days', everyone was together for better or worse.  It was a group with common interests.

Lumpy Darkness

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2015, 08:43:44 AM »
LOL!!!  Elitism?  "Them's fightin words!".... Well, not really.

So, here's the thing.  Eventually, for some of us, getting the most optimal skies ends up being the driving factor. Fremont Peak is an ok site, and serves well for lots of folks.  But where I go on new moons (and I haven't gone very much the last few years, admittedly) is significantly darker, and the results in the eyepiece are proof.  Darker, higher, steadier, is better.  So, show me a site that supports 35 cars, is relatively easy to get to (like Fremont Peak) and I'd love to see a big star party there every new moon.

Where is that?

To enjoy my hobby to the fullest, I'm driven to the best site I can find.  But, I'm also interested in the fun of friends, and lots of them, out observing together.  So, what to do?  Hey... I'll suggest 3rd Quarter observing (which I haven't done in years) at a place that's maybe not so optimal for me, but others would think is "great".

At least its a solution.

Elitist!  I've been called lots of things....

And, final thought.  There are LOTS of old TACos, with lots of experience, who are capable of putting out OI's and INVITING newbies out (and telling them how easy it is to come, what to brings, etiquette, etc.).  I'll do 3rd Q with the group.  Honestly, I'm not going to pick up many faint Sh-2 targets at Coe, but I'm very interested in being part of a revitalized TAC, when I can.

Who is going to step up?  Look at GSSP.  It began as a little group going to Mt. Lassen.  Over the years, others became involved, and now its a great annual event.  TAC in the Bay Area can be too, but its not up to one person to make it happen, whether its me, you, Jamie, Rogelio, Turley, Ozer, or.... everyone needs to help.


Mark said: "I agree. First to answer your last question.  In my case, I observe on private property now, and the site holds no more than about five people. So, that's a big limiting factor compared to the old days at Fremont Peak, Coe and Dinosaur Point".

So there it is.  How can you expect past TACO's and newbies to embrace TAC when a few of you are privatizing your own observing interests at your own location. That's elitism.  In the 'old days', everyone was together for better or worse.  It was a group with common interests.

Peter Natscher

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2015, 09:12:31 AM »
Coe, Fremont Peak have always been a available for observing.  Jamie and I have constantly announced our OI's on TAC for Fremont Peak inviting others to meet there.  The falling out in 2000 of most TAC members from meeting at Fremont Peak, including the core members, damaged TAC by fragmenting it.  It's what you value most, the members or the site.  If you want a club, then you've got to be there.  You need to be at these sites for better or worse to promote a group that fits into their weekend schedules.  Most want to schedule on the New Moon.

Lumpy Darkness

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2015, 10:02:17 AM »

I don't want a club.  I want observers without that crap.  Clubs are good for lectures.

I guess we all do what we can, Peter.  I can do 3rdQ.

That history from 2000 is a long time ago.  I forgot about Head Ranger Mary Pass and the hassles at the Peak back then.  Its a new era, and new people to lead the way...  I'm glad you and Jamie are trying. I'll do what I can to help.


Coe, Fremont Peak have always been a available for observing.  Jamie and I have constantly announced our OI's on TAC for Fremont Peak inviting others to meet there.  The falling out in 2000 of most TAC members from meeting at Fremont Peak, including the core members, damaged TAC by fragmenting it.  It's what you value most, the members or the site.  If you want a club, then you've got to be there.  You need to be at these sites for better or worse to promote a group that fits into their weekend schedules.  Most want to schedule on the New Moon.

mccarthymark

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2015, 10:35:24 AM »
From my perspective, as a relative newbie:

I’m very glad the TAC site exists.  Receiving feedback on my O.R.s and answers to my questions from such advanced observers is valuable.  The posts are often informative, and many of the O.R.s inspire me to try new and challenging things.

Maybe communication would be more efficient with instant email; but it is also nice to have the record online somewhere to refer to later.

Because of work and family commitments, and weather, my dark(er) sky observing time is catch as catch can: if it happens to coincide with another’s OI I will try to be there.  I’m sure there’s more for me to learn when observing alongside others, and enjoy the camaraderie.  My main purpose is to observe and make the most of the time I have. 

For the time being I’m on brighter objects so the nearby sites will do; but if I had the opportunity to go to a darker sky, even for the types of objects I observe now, I would.

The nice thing about TAC is its informality; it’s not a club per se, but a place to share experiences, and bring me, at least, out of what sometimes feels like isolation as an observer.  I like the “local” flavor, where the information is more specific to my observing environment, as opposed to CN or other large forums.  If our respective observing opportunities and tastes happen to coincide and we can observe together, big groups or small, all the better.  But at least we have this virtual platform in which to meet.

I don’t know what to say about participation on the site.  People are different and want or don’t want to post.  It would be nice if there would be more.  I joined the fray, as it were, and started posting because I thought writing up my experiences would improve my skills, and to specifically seek the comment of experienced observers.  But not everyone will take this route.  Many very beginning people tend to go to lower altitude, easier access sites--even travel distance to Fremont Peak can be “too far” for some.  It will depend on one’s wants and tastes whether they will go out, and whether they will post.  But it’s a good thing there is TAC the website to be there virtually, and TAC the confederation of observers who, if circumstances allow and personalities mesh, get together when they can.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 10:46:34 AM by mccarthymark »
Mark

Lumpy Darkness

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2015, 10:52:11 AM »

The e-mail system, prior to this forum, had an archive.  Yahoo and Google groups have archives.  I want whatever works best for TAC, but I would prefer the instantaneous reply ability simple e-mail affords.  I'd also prefer it all be embedded into a CMS, but we've been down that (frustrating) road before.  I know it can be done, but....


Maybe communication would be more efficient with instant email; but it is also nice to have the record online somewhere to refer to later.


Peter Natscher

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2015, 05:11:08 PM »
To return to Rogelio's original post -- the participation and response to this topic is deafening.  Need I say more?

Peter Natscher

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2015, 06:22:23 PM »
BTW Mark, what's going on with your remote observing site group purchase plan that you proposed a year or two ago?

Marko

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2015, 12:55:30 AM »
I subscribe to tac observing and equipment I think so have missed all this excitement.

I will say that the really nice group meetups at local sites over the last few years have shifted with for a few years the Bonny Doon site being an AMAZING star party that even had reasonably dark southwest and very often two saturdays a month.   There have been changes in ownership of that land so they stopped but I still hold out for maybe that find airstrip someday being available again.  The Santa Cruz club set that up and now with new owners it had to stop but hopefully only for a while, I don't know.   So that was a true happening and always announced on TAC all the way up to about a year ago when ownership changed.

Nowdays the Montebello parties (just got back an hour ago) have been so very wonderful and loaded with people and most always put on OI list on today's TAC.    The other really popular big fairly predictable montly star party is the south San Jose SJAA events that don't always make their way to TAC announcements but are really popular best I can see.   

So it may not be Coe or Fremont Peak but in the last two years huge progress has been made to have large group regular star parties.

Mark Wagner is suggesting a Coe thing even prior to the most recent posts on this thread.

As far as the TAC format and so on, yes I think everyone misses the email 'easy to reply to' and 'all in one place' format.   The technical issues that shut that down could only be overcome if we choose some mainstream supported email sort of thing such as some google email lists which allow for non gmail addresses I have been told.  That has not been persued much yet. 

There are really two issues:
1) common big group TAC meetups
2) The simplier to use email format all in one place TAC list.

Marko
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Lumpy Darkness

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2015, 09:04:10 AM »
To return to Rogelio's original post -- the participation and response to this topic is deafening.  Need I say more?

Several ur-TACos were at Montebello last night, and all agree with your above observation.

A new effort needs to be made to return TAC to more of what it had been (its currently a has-been).  I have offered to go to Coe, easily a 2 hour drive for me, on 3rd Q weekends that look good weather-wise.  I'll post OI's for that.  I suggest others do the same for other locations.  Turley and the Montebello crew are all in on this idea, and post OI's for MB regularly.  We need someone for Fremont Peak, and Dino (if active).  We need someone for Lake Sonoma.  We need to engage not only TAC, but the AANC Meetup (TAC) web-page as well, posting OI's/announcements, and inviting people to come out, with instructions/directions/etc.  We're never going to put the genie back in the bottle and have 50 TACos at Fremont Peak like the early days, unless we get a really charasmatic leader/observer to pull it all together and make that happen.  Even then, I have my doubts - I think that was all a moment in time, really great, and nice to remember.  We can all reminisce about it at CalStar and GSSP.

The other thing that's obvious is this format "mailing list" is less than ideal.  John Pierce has put a lot of time and work into this, and no amount of thanks is sufficient for those efforts, but there are a number of impediments with this system that create a tremendous lack of momentum.  The inability to respond easily kills any traction.  New postings don't say who they're from.  You need to go to a web-page to reply.  You need to log in (and see who posted) then reply.  Discussions are fragmented by (well intended) categories that must be subscribed to.  If you don't log in and click on a posting, you won't get any more notices about it (that's a good and bad feature, but requires logging in to continue after each posting).  Too much!  Simplicity, please!

I recommend returning to an e-mail based service, even if its (the dreaded) Google or Yahoo Groups, which function wonderfully for many many many mailing lists.  A mailing list, or two, and a web-page (preferably a CMS, which I am willing to work on, on my own).  That's all we need.

And some promotion, let our natural enthusiasm for the hobby be the invitation.  Then TAC can reform into a new, more vibrant semblance of what it used to be.


BTW Mark, what's going on with your remote observing site group purchase plan that you proposed a year or two ago?

Land owner who appeared willing to donate property changed their mind.  We can still pursue it, but it would now include the cost of purchase, in addition to improvments.  We'd need to restart the effort.


Peter Natscher

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2015, 12:59:15 PM »
There are really two issues:
1) common big group TAC meetups
2) The simplier to use email format all in one place TAC list.
------

So, what exactly are "TAC" organized events these days?  The Montebello meet-ups are independently what they are. Santa Cruz and SJAA clubs have their own schedules.  The clubs offer everything that one could hope for in supporting one's astronomy fetish whether it be club house or site meetups, observing, imaging.  The clubs do go farther in offering more people to meet, get civil support, have more sites to meet up in, have equipment to use for newbies, offer fun and interesting events and seminars.  What is it that is attractive with TAC that isn't already available in the SC and SJ organizations?  Wouldn't it be better to consolidate TAC's efforts with SC and SJ rather than remain independent?

Lumpy Darkness

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2015, 01:37:03 PM »
So, what exactly are "TAC" organized events these days?

That's precisely what I'm saying, Peter.  TAC needs to get back into the business of publicizing and promoting.  There are plenty of highly experienced observers who have the knowledge to do this.  Look at Jamie, he just posted about Dino.  Kudos Jamie!  I'm in, on 3rd Q.  Remember when we'd go both on 3rdQ and NM?

Quote
Wouldn't it be better to consolidate TAC's efforts with SC and SJ rather than remain independent?

You can join and participate.

SC lost their darkish sky site.  Bonny Doon was good when the fog was in.  Otherwise, nah.  SJ takes its members to a sink hole (dew trap) downhill from Coe.  In the light dome of the Gilroy Outlet Mall... way too bright, but noobs don't know the diff.  We can show them the difference another 20 minutes up the mountain makes.  And, I know there's plenty of folks who just don't want clubs because of the politics... dues, by-laws, all to go to club sites that they don't own (generally speaking) and can easily have access revoked.  TAC is not so constrained, free to everyone, and can move quickly.

I'll stay with trying to revitalize TAC.  I've had enough of club's (seen from way inside) - although I may pay dues to SFAA to support their lectures, I may even go to their City Star Parties which are effectively sidewalk astronomy.  Don't even need to be a member to do that.

I hope I don't come off detesting club crap as much as I actually do ;-)


Peter Natscher

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2015, 02:41:18 PM »
Mark, this club 'crap' as you phrase comes off strange since you have been a Director for SJAA numerous times storming out in the interim ;))  Supporting established organizations pays dividends to the general pubic as they attract more people and offer much more choices.  You gets what you pay for -- there's no free lunch.  I think paying something is honorable, and responsible socially, as I detest free riders.  Somebody is paying for your free use of the sites you refer to as "free."  Doesn't SJAA also use Coe, and didn't they initially negotiate it use for astronomy?  I hope SC can find another good site again.  I enjoy that "club."

Lumpy Darkness

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2015, 02:51:42 PM »
I'm not the only ex club president/board member that wants nothing to do with their old club anymore.  PAS had a similar situation recently.  In fact, SJAA has a rich history of that occurring - at least 3 of the 4 last club presidents left the club!  (*Edit: Its 4 of the last 5 prior to the new one, want nothing to do with it).  It all has to do with politics, which is why I left.  Once that begins, I have zero interest, its supposed to be fun, not bs.

Clubs do some good things, I do enjoy the high level of speakers the SFAA gets.  As I said, I may join to support that.  But I'm not going to go to their dark sky star parties, which are on Mount Tam.  Sky is too bright there for me.  Same with SJAA, their sites are too bright.

TAC had contacted Coe for many years to reserve the overflow lot for astronomy.  Jim Van Nuland with the SJAA has been doing that for ages, for the benefit of the entire astronomy community.  People would show up at Coe expecting an SJAA star party there, and find nobody!

I'd prefer the unaffiliated approach, more of a wider community, if we can bring that back.  If we can, great! If we can't, I can still observe.

Mark, this club 'crap' as you phrase comes off strange since you have been a Director for SJAA numerous times storming out in the interim ;))  Supporting established organizations pays dividends to the general pubic as they attract more people and offer much more choices.  You gets what you pay for -- there's no free lunch.  I think paying something is honorable, and responsible socially, as I detest free riders.  Somebody is paying for your free use of the sites you refer to as "free."  Doesn't SJAA also use Coe, and didn't they initially negotiate it use for astronomy?  I hope SC can find another good site again.  I enjoy that "club."

Peter Natscher

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2015, 03:06:36 PM »
I was told the SJAA has an interest in purchasing a remote dark site property for its use and they have the funds to do that.  If SJAA can't promote Coe with over 300 members, then who can?  At SJAA, did you promote the darker sites of Coe and FP while you were Pres. ??? Newbies are more interested in being closer in to enjoy their new astro-hobbies and not traveling to Coe or Fremont Peak, yet.  They have long work schedules and new families to deal with.  Rancho may be bright but it works for them.  We all may have started that way -- I did in the NYC area.  I think beginners are better off starting out with a club like SJAA to feel all the possibilities at that early stage.  That's why TAC did so well with the experience crowd.  It's time to start over with a new group since there's a huge gap in age groups.

Lumpy Darkness

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2015, 03:17:37 PM »

This part of our discussion began when you suggested melding TAC into SJAA.  I've said why I (personally) wasn't interested.  4 of 5 past presidents not liking how it works says enough.

When I was president, I focused primarily on trying to have the club meet its 501(c)3 non-profit goals, public education.  That meant activities primarily at Houge Park, and the great school star party program that Jim Van Nuland has been almost autonomously been running for the club for over 20 years.  The opportunity to purchase land for and observing site did present itself, but my vision was for SJAA to be part of a consortium of clubs owning the property, along with unaffiliated observers (paying a dues fee), to support the ongoing costs of ownership.  The SJAA board later decided they weren't interested.

Newbies do get a good intro to astronomy at Houge Park, on 1st Q moon nights, and 3rd Q for bright targets and planets.  The club reports to the City of San Jose, which looks at what percentage of activities support SJ residents, since the club uses the park and hall for free.  The Park and Rec department uses the statistics to justify the free use to the bean counters and City Counselors.  That's why, for my 2 years (we passed a term limit while I was pres) I focused on SJ/Houge Park activities.

I still love the idea of a consortium ownership of an observing site.

BTW... I also started with a club, SJAA, but left it in the mid-90's due to... ..... .... nasty politics.  I returned when that particular board was completely gone.

I was told the SJAA has an interest in purchasing a remote dark site property for its use and they have the funds to do that.  If SJAA can't promote Coe with over 300 members, then who can?  At SJAA, did you promote the darker sites of Coe and FP while you were Pres. ??? Newbies are more interested in being closer in to enjoy their new astro-hobbies and not traveling to Coe or Fremont Peak, yet.  They have long work schedules and new families to deal with.  Rancho may be bright but it works for them.  We all may have started that way -- I did in the NYC area.  I think beginners are better off starting out with a club like SJAA to feel all the possibilities at that early stage.  That's why TAC did so well with the experience crowd.  It's time to start over with a new group since there's a huge gap in age groups.

RalphWaid

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2015, 10:33:33 PM »
I agree with RBA. Since merging participation has dropped off a cliff. I have even been side lined as well.

Stephen Winston

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2015, 08:27:27 PM »
Let me add my vote for bringing back the email list.  I miss the banter, even if I didn't participate enough.  If we can bring back the email lists I promise to do better ;).

Marko

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2015, 12:38:00 PM »
Just so people realize what an email list would be it would be good to know how many people would be ok with the email list taking the form of a Google group or perhaps Yahoo group.   I think there are those that dislike the big internet or rather perceived 'big brother' aspect of Google groups but realistically they already 'got your number' anyway is my view.  I use Google groups for a few things and it is as close to an email list as can be had with the added advantage as you also have a web only experience if that is your wish.

You can operate in an email only mode on such a group and just do reply OR visit the webpage and start new thread.  Several links appear on each email so you can hit one to go directly to webpage interface easily to see other threads and so on.   

I love the ease of use frankly.  Best of both worlds.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 12:44:07 PM by Marko »
Let me roam the deep skies and I'll be content.

Enrico

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Re: The new TAC is getting old
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2015, 11:32:02 AM »