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Thread: Home page and pool school organization confusing? Lacking?

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    Home page and pool school organization confusing? Lacking?

    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.
    7600 gallon; 18'X54" round; vinyl; sand filter and 110V pump, 2-speed.
    Near Cookeville, TN--1/2-way between Nashville--Knoxville along I-40; Highland Rim part of the Appalachian Plateau (we call the Cumberland Plateau for the southern half of this geological region).

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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: Home page and pool school organization confusing? Lacking?

    Gregsfc,

    I thank you greatly for you input. Rather than making a comment on this just yet I'd like to re-read it a few times and let everything soak in. I'm out of town for the next few days due to an unexpected family event but once I return I will read it again and comment back.

    I thank you greatly for the time you've spent on this critique and I'd like to give it the attention it deserves.
    Lee

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    Re: Home page and pool school organization confusing? Lacking?

    I'm only speaking for myself here, so I'm sure others will have a different opinion. After reading your post a few times. I can see where you are coming from. I felt the same way. But what I've come to realize is that, for the grand majority of folks we deal with, the TFP way is so foreign that they wouldn't believe it, if it was just laid out in the beginning. So stuff is arranged in a way that kinda leads them along a path towards enlightenment. For people like you and me that haven't been pool $tored to the point of disbelief in anything, it feels like stuff is all over the place. And in some cases it is. But I really think it's that way for a reason. Sure, some of it has grown in an organic manner, but for the most part it's been trained and turned into a cohesive whole.
    I wonder if there couldn't be something like a quiz that folks could take. If they are heavily pool $tored they get one path whereas if they are take charge, DIY types they get a different one. I guess that's what we already do; when we start answering their questions and assessing the answers; by how the different links get posted and the amount of info that is presented in each post.

    I have more to say but I have to get outside before it gets too hot to mow.

    Thanks for taking the time to make a well thought out posting, I'm sure others will be along shortly to say 'thank you' too.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Home page and pool school organization confusing? Lacking?

    VERY interesting read....some things to think about for sure.

    I like Bob's idea of "tracks". Some people really need the step by step way. Some people can handle it being handed to them to let them move at their own pace.

    I think the strength of TFP is helping each member on a one at a time basis........help them in the way THEY need help. That is the reason I ask for each member to start their own thread instead of piggy backing on another one. Each pool and area is SO different so it is best for each one have their own thread.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Home page and pool school organization confusing? Lacking?

    Very good points from the OP here. But, I have to say when I found this site from googling a problem, I think I found the forum and never went to the home page but to pool school from the forum rather.

    Maybe to further research there could be a forum (subject) page added for "how did you find us" and that might give needed insight to help with design?
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
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    Re: Home page and pool school organization confusing? Lacking?

    At one point in time I think it was a bit more along the lines of what you propose, and the feedback at the time showed the majority of users were simply overwhelmed by all the information.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Home page and pool school organization confusing? Lacking?

    Ya know, when I first joined TFP, I thought it made sense, but, just too time-consuming, all this testing and foreign sounding words, chemicals and stuff. But, as a person with a "technical" mind, I "got" it. However, I did nothing about it. Continued to have water testing at B&M. Refused to lug chlorine jugs home, preferred those oh-so-nice and neat 1lb packets (that cost an arm and a leg). Now, with TFP, I know.

    Got really annoyed at the kids testing my water and how they dropped the reagents in the test sample. So, I finally, this March, took the plunge and got a "real" test kit.

    Yes, it was intimidating at first, but, after just a couple weeks of DAILY testing (emphasis on DAILY), don't need to read the directions, I know what to drop where and how much. It's a learned skill, just like any other.

    The TF-100's directions are plain, easy to understand and just work.

    I felt the same way when I started my current job. Everything has a learning curve and once you've master it, it's a breeze - especially when you're looking out the back doors at sparkly water!

    I could not believe - I joined TFP in 2010 and it took me 6 years to 'get it'. Never too old to learn!
    16K gal, IG Free-Form Plaster (1986), 1 HP Pentair Superflo pump, PAC FAB FNS-36 DE Filter, Polaris 280, Screened, Cool Deck.
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    Re: Home page and pool school organization confusing? Lacking?

    After reading the Home page and the OP's suggestions, I believe something needs to be done to lead new readers to what our method actually is. We talk about our method in the Home page, but don't direct the new reader directly to what our method involves, they have to piece it together through all the links. AQ time?
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Home page and pool school organization confusing? Lacking?

    ^This is where a "read more" optional link might be handy.

    Eg, say TFP uses a different set of water balance parameters based on research (Learn Why link) -- and then in Optional "learn why" link connect the dots on the FC:cya ratio as the founding principal, and how THAT connects to the testing practices...stable cya rate to calculate against, etc.
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    Re: Home page and pool school organization confusing? Lacking?

    I didn't really catch on that there was an alternative method until I was looking/searching for technical information on my Hayward CL110 and all the results came back with "we don't recommend...". By then I'd already bought my bucket of 3" tabs for the year and made a 1/4" tap into my new PVC return line for the CL110. (2nd year with a pool this season, 1st DIY opening). I'm going to work through them carefully, moving to bleach when needed and likely taking the CL110 out of the mix next year. But for me, it wasn't abundantly clear at first either... That being said, I'm excited that I now know... and am looking forward to TFPC. I'm sub-ing to this thread, as I agree it could be changed for the better with, in my opinion, the FC/CYA relationship at the forefront.
    24' Doughboy Autumn Breeze AG - Hayward Power-Flo LX 1hp - Hayward EC40C90 Perflex DE
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    Re: Home page and pool school organization confusing? Lacking?

    I was thinking the same thing. I love reading threads but I really need to get a grasp on the method but I feel like I'm all over the place with different people giving out technical advice but not a spot on the menu to just read the method or the math. I'm excited but frustrated at the same time.

    Pro Series 16 X 48. Intex 3000 gph sand filter pump with intex saltwater water chlorinator Installed in summer of 2014.

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