I know that alot of the stickies post this info but I figured it might help to start a thread to help out the newbies. I myself am a newbie and have learned a ton about everything pool from TFP....lots still to learn. When starting out before you freak cause your pool is purple,green, black or otherwised colored like baby poop, get a set of numbers. In order for the pool chemistry gurus to help you they need a set of chemistry numbers to help steer you in the right direction of a sparkling pool. If you don't have a kit go to the pool store and get your water tested without buying any chemicals. Then post them here for help. Also it always helps to have your pool information at the bottom of your signature so that the gurus know what they are working with.
Don't forget alot of the admins have signatures with helpful tidbits of info like pool calculators, places to buy test kits etc.
The best way to get your sparkling oasis is numbers....numbers ......numbers and you'll be swimming in no time. Ask lots of questions, post pictures (we love em'), and welcome to TFP!
P.S. It also helps to become a lifetime supporter to TFP cause it can give you alot of benefits(savings) towards future purchases through various vendors.