Before I give a critique on the TFP site, I want to say in no way am I unappreciative of what the folks on here who do the designing of the webpages and information or to those who offer advice to the droves of folks who come on here daily asking for help. It has made my pool care management easy and it all makes sense once I learned it and I am eternally grateful. I'm simply going to relate as to how difficult is was for me to come to the understanding of TFP methods.
It is unbelievable the amount of questions answered daily on here. It's the best responding forum with the most dedicated group of teachers I've ever been associated with as far as responses from experts on every inquiry, which is huge. I'm going to become a supporter, once I get my Pay Pal up and running again, which I just learned is required to become a supporter. I recently tried to sell an item and was asked to send a money gram from a Pay Pal account, which was a scam. Not understanding much about scams, as a rare seller, it scared me thinking maybe someone could get to my Pay Pal account, so I closed it.
I just went back through and reviewed "pool school". I started back on the home page. Thought that this time I would navigate much better through the pages to review my understanding of TFP methods, but I didn't. It took me nearly as long to find the information and review what I had learned as it did when I learned it the first time, and so I feel I should critique the layout of the home page and pool school. I know this will be disagreeable to some, but it's not intended as a put down to anyone; only that maybe someone who is good at this sort of thing, who is willing, and maybe sees what I'm seeing, should look at it again at some point and make the introduction to TFP and the particulars of TFP more like an instructional guide and less like a reference guide.
Thinking back when I first found this site and how I only gradually began noticing, as I dug deep in pool school and related articles, how TFP methods are different and how traditional methods are flawed once understanding that "they" usually call for FC levels that will not effectively sanitize pools and how "they" ignore CYA unless out of range; and going back once again to review what I'd learned; I think the way the homepage introduces this methodology and the "pool school" particulars could be much easier to access as far as guiding newcomers through these methods. I'm not referring to the information itself; it is all there as long as you keep going back and forth clicking all the links and tabs until finding what you're looking for, but my point is more about how the methodologies are introduced and how the particulars about caring for pools are laid out in pool school.
I'm no publisher or writer, but it seems to me that if the home page illustrated, beyond that first paragraph which is good, that TFP is a different way of caring for pools; if it pointed out the major differences from what other sources are teaching and the TFP way; and if it indicated why the other methods are flawed and are designed for pool failure or problems right there on that first page; then more folks would come to the forum understanding that this is not just a collection of experts on traditional methods. I know that for me, when I found this site, I didn't know there was a different way. People who buy a pool, especially the first go around, expect that an industry that's been around this long, with all he experiences, would have it all together, and they'd be established methods that everyone agreed on; at least on the major stuff like chlorine and CYA levels. It'd be like buying a car, and the industry and the manual all stated to put premium fuel in it, and then finding out on a forum that the car was designed for regular unleaded, and that the premium will actually harm it over time. That's what it was like for me and pool ownership, when I learned that the people who sell pools and the chemical companies tell us to use the wrong things and unnecessary things and harmful things in our pools. Whether it's intentional or not is really irrelevant. It is the industry's responsibility to know how to take care of their customers and be the experts on the products they manufacture.
I didn't really have a pool problem when I found TFP like most people have;I had an understanding problem, so I didn't go right to the forum with questions like a lot of folks do. So when I came to the forum, I knew a lot about how TFP is different, but I don't find that's the case with most first-time posters. After a 1 1/2 seasons owning a pool, for the first time, a store clerk said don't add anymore chlorine with stabilizer in it (dichlor and trichlor); to use Cal-hypo. If I kept adding chlorine with stabilizer, I'd have to drain the pool. I was thinking...I had never heard or read this before. You mean I've been adding something that could cause me to have to drain the pool? Why did you tell me to use it to begin with? I was confused, but I didn't have these questions while standing in front of the clerk. They sort of come to me as I began thinking about it driving home. I came home and googled this CYA thing, because I wanted to understand the relationship and why some chlorine has it in it and some does not. So I came to the site and began reading until I figured out that what they're teaching is missing a major component of pool care, and that I was lucky to find this site and learn what I now know. But it took me a while after finding the site, that TFP would actually explain the relationship and why that some CYA is a must, but that too much is a disaster.
I also see lots of evidence of what I'm criticizing from many first-time posters who are new to the forum. They usually have a problem that pool store advice or chemicals aren't fixing, or that they are just temporary fixes that keep coming back, but they make statements indicating that they do not realize they've reached a site and a group that teaches different methodologies in many respects. An expert will reply and begin to clue them in as to what is taught here; a different method and give them some links to learn and recommend a test kit, so they can start helping their own situation. That's when the OP usually goes back and starts to learn what this is all about; gets a test kit, and begins the TFP way.
It just seems to me though, if the home page expanded on the first paragraph, which is basically why TFP exists, but then went on to explain that this is a far different, superior, and more simple method of pool care than is what is commonly taught out in the industry, and then if "pool school" were organized in a more narrative (or book-like) way with just one link given below to get all the basics of going forward this new way, instead of all these divisions of the information in little pieces; inquirers could start there; learn about the basics on just a couple of web pages on how to care and fix pools the TFP way. I understand using links, tabs, and references as it relates to things like pool math, recommended levels, CYA-FC chart, the forum, etc., but I think that all these categories in the learning section for newcomers is way too subdivided and hard to work through.
It seems like it could start with what every pool owner would need the TFP way: a proper test kit (and why), and a chlorine source that does not add calcium or CYA. It could then go on to explain how to manage a pool daily, which products are recommended to make which adjustments, how to do the full round of test regularly (weekly), and how to fix problems, i.e, SLAMing. And that, except for rare circumstances, like metals in pools, nothing else will ever be needed in pools.