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Thread: New Directions for PoolForum in 2018 (in revision)

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    Default New Directions for PoolForum in 2018 (in revision)


    What’s been the problem?

    There are several, including personal ones I am not going to explain, but a major one is the poor average quality of the information here. Many answers here are just ‘OK’ at best and some are poor, or even wrong. In other cases, there are long confusing posts about problems of relevance to hardly anyone else.

    As a result, someone dipping into the threads here will often end up confused or worse.

    The origins of these problems go back to the creation of PoolSolutions.com, over 20 years ago. The information there was about things that worked for me. But, I didn’t know -- then -- if they worked for everyone. After 20 years, 100,000’s of posts, and some very helpful analytical work by Chem_Geek explaining the mechanism behind the chemistry I’d seen . . . I do know.

    But that still leaves 10,000’s of posts that wander off somewhat randomly..


    Why has it been hard to find a standard ‘right answer’?

    There are several reasons.

    Probably what has tangled me up most, is my tendency to try to find a COMPLETE pool answer, that covers ALL the problems someone might encounter. I kept trying, and failing. And, I’m not the only one.

    As a result, there are LOTS of ‘answers’ on PoolForum to complicated questions, ‘answers’ which did NOT solve the problem, but which do add to the confusing 'debris' on the Forum.

    Resolving this is complicated.[LIST][*]The tendency to be 'helpful' often overrides the need to limit answers to what is known.[*]My own answers were often too complex, rooted in my own practical experience with large commercial pools, instead of home pools. [*]My answers also weren't as simple as they could be, because I’d failed to distinguish between sanitation requirements at commercial pools, and those in home pools.[*]The “BBB Method” has at times been a useful mnemonic, but people have taken it in different ways, include some that contradict what I have taught here.[*]In my mind, the ‘bleach, borax, and baking soda' pages I wrote on PoolSolutions were mostly just EXAMPLES.[*]I've never thought that bleach nor borax are essential to operations on any pool, and even baking soda is not needed in most pools.[LIST]


    Anything else being reset?

    Unfortunately, yes.

    In order to make sure everyone is on the same page, everyone has to start over. Contributors, moderators, super-moderators. Everybody.

    That does include me, by the way. Before I can ask everyone to get on "the same page" . . . I have to write, or re-write, those pages.

    This means that anwers that were acceptable in the past, won't be in the future. I know this is going to upset a lot of people. I’m sorry. It’s the main thing I’ve dreaded every time I’ve started to work on this.


    So where are things going now?

    First, there’s a lot of housekeeping and updating I have to do with the site and the servers that run PoolSolutions and PoolForum.
    • There was a lot of clean-up from spammers and such that had registered and posted in the "Getting Started" section. That's mostly done (I think).
    • I've got to migrate to a new physical server.
    • I've got to upgrade forum software.
    • There's a bunch of Internet structure updates to do, relating to enabling HTTPS encryption and "mobile-friendly" pages.
    • One thing I am NOT going to do, is figure out European privacy rules (GDPR). It's too complicated and too 'legal'. Instead, I'm simply removing all European user accounts -- though there weren't that many.

    Second, I have to update the content

    This is going differently than I expected, but will become visible as I get bits and pieces done. Right now, it looks like a lot of the work I need to do is cleaning up 'sticky' threads and other threads that get a lot of views.


    Will you be posting answers on the Forum itself in 2018?

    Well, I said "No", but that's not going to work.

    So, "some". But traffic is way down, and will probably stay that way for awhile (or permanently -- who knows?).

    However, my focus will be elsewhere.


    Are you saying that only the ‘standard answers’ will be acceptable?

    Eventually. Once they exist.

    I'm also deleting and pruning LOTS of things, since I no longer have to worry about 'stepping on toes' as I did in the past.


    What about the “BBB Method”?

    Again, I spoke too soon earlier.

    There will be a transition. The "BBB Method” was a useful mnemonic for the unsystematic ‘system’ taught here, and still has important name recognition on the Internet. But it's being promoted by people who could care less about better pool care, but who are only seeking Internet traffic and ad (or chemical) sales.

    As a result, the phrase is not a consistently useful reference to a clear and simple standard method of pool care. At times, it is even something of a distraction, since people come with incorrect ideas about what will work.


    So, what is the ‘new’ way?

    The “PPC Method” has a number of key elements. I will star (*) the ones that differ from the way many people have described the "BBB Method".
    • For swimming pool treatment, method is as important as materials. It’s like cooking: using the right ingredients the wrong way produces inedibles. General rules:
      • You don't have to use bleach, baking soda, or borax . . . but it's fine if you do. *
      • Three factors are important: chlorine, pH, and stabilizer.
      • Your chlorine level is calculated as a percentage of your stabilizer level. *
      • For MANY pools, alkalinity, calcium hardness, TDS, phosphates, nitrates, etc. are NOT important.
      • Managing the side effects of various needed chemicals is an ESSENTIAL element of managing pool chemistry
      • The more DIFFERENT chemicals you use, the harder it gets.
      • The COMPLETE list of pool chemicals for MOST pools is:
        • Chlorine: dichlor, trichlor, bleach, or cal hypo
        • Acid: muriatic acid (preferred) or sodium bisulfate
        • Base: sodium carbonate (cheaper, larger effect) or borax (does not increase alkalinity much)
        • Stabilizer: dichlor (soluble!) or cyanuric acid
        • Other chemicals should be used ONLY if needed for a specific reason.
      • Except for chlorine, use partial, rather than complete, doses. Repeat as needed.
      • Never mix chemicals outside the pool
      • Add large chlorine doses in the evening or at night.
      • Remember, chemicals can't substitute for filtration or physical cleaning.
      • Except for bleach, do NOT add chemicals to pools that are not circulating.
        There are a few emergency exceptions to this.
      • The ONLY fully effective algaecide is chlorine.
      • Polyquat is the ONLY algaecide without negative side effects BUT it is mostly useful as a preventative. *
      • Phosphate removal method and products often sold the pool industry do NOT work.
      • Yet, the ONLY full effective algae preventative is phosphate removal.
      • Fortunately, pool owners will be able to do this by following a PPC ‘recipe’.
      • Learning the basic pool chemicals [I]by chemical name[I] is an ESSENTIAL skill. *
      • The pool industry (like 'BIG Pharma') deliberately uses confusing and misleading names, to increase sales and prices.


    Additional Points
    • Salt water chlorination systems can be reliable ‘chlorine feed systems’, but only while they last. Apparently, most systems require major maintenance or replacement after 2 - 3 seasons.
    • Pool additives -- algaecides, clarifiers, stain control agents, etc -- ALWAYS have undesirable side effects and OFTEN cause problems. Most are not chlorine compatible. Occasionally, the benefits they offer are greater than the problems they cause.
    • Above-ground pool filter systems are USUALLY sized incorrectly, causing problems especially with clean-up. The typical arrangement is an undersized filter and an oversized pump.
    • Oversized pumps DAMAGE filters.
    • StaRite System3 cartridges are terrible. They work well for some users, in specific circumstances, but generally are awful.
    • The more expensive and elaborate a pool, the more likely that it will have MAJOR design AND construction failures. Among local pools, 100% of pools costing over $80,000 have MAJOR problems. Many of these pools were designed and built by “top builders” from other large cities in the Southeast.
    • Infloor cleaning systems DOUBLE pump electrical usage,and typically fail within five years. Often they cannot be repaired.
    • Many problems with expensive pools result because pool owners are unwilling to spend money on ‘invisible’ elements of the pool.


    What sort of pools or owners typically can NOT be helped at PoolForum?
    • Pools filled with well-water, except for limestone (karst) wells.
    • Pools with metal staining (often from well water)
    • Pools with broken or severely inadequate circulation or filtration systems.
    • Pool owners trying to blend advice from multiple pool web sites.
    • People with elaborate custom pools
    • People with electronic pool control systems
    • People with very specific equipment problems, or old equipment no longer manufactured.
    • People who can't or won't follow instructions.

    Often, trying to answer such questions has created long, confusing threads, with no clear outcome.

    Last edited by PoolDoc; 06-01-2018 at 09:16 AM.

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