Forum Dogs

Little Black Dog providing surface support

Many years ago, around the dawn of Technical Diving, divers started to use internet forums to  exchange  information. The potential was huge, especially for the new discipline of Tech diving. You had small groups of divers all around the world, each trying new things, exploring new ideas, and sharing what worked and what didn't work. What a small group of divers in the UK were doing, was immediately linked to interested divers in Australia, or New Jersey, or Italy. It was a very fun time to be in diving, and diving changed forever. But it was not long before a small minority of divers who understood the power of the internet, thought they could control the narrative to their advantage. They set about hijacking the forums, for themselves.

They developed several techniques to hijack and control what was being said, and to bring the narrative back to themselves for their own prestige and profit. They used Dog Pack techniques to attack their targets, with an Alpha Dog and one or more Yes Dogs. The ammunition was words, lots, and lots, and lots of words, often on multiple threads. The pack would verbally attack any offending message, and intentionally misstate or alter the intent of the original missive. Now, the author of any message they deemed contrary to their dogma, is no longer in a discussion about the content, but forced to defend numerous false messages now attributed to them. Finally, the Pack would make it personal with multiple personal attacks to discredit the messenger, and discourage them from further posting. They win, and it worked.

Photo_112805_003_small

The Three Amigos

Instead of talking about ideas, the forums became  battlefields where dedicated gangs of internet bullies relentlessly patrol their turf. It became impossible for any one individual to discuss new ideas, problems, or solutions in a civil manner. It retarded the growth of diving, and the growth of the dive industry itself. It is very hard to have a productive forum of free ideas, with groups looking to exploit the very weaknesses of that freedom. So, I have never posted very much in forums, just for that reason. Things have changed somewhat, and many Forum managers try to fight the good fight, but the Forum Bullies are still out there preaching intolerance.

I did not spend much time planning to be a blogger. Really, it was only like a few days. I wanted my first blog to be something honest, something that would be good for diving, and something I really believed in. I wanted to be responsible in writing it, and I did not want to embarrass anyone. I thought that a blog topic on Responsibility and Self Reliance in deeper diving was something  very... me, reflective of my values and the kind of questions I am often asked. I thought responsibility in deeper diving was a concept worthy of discussion, regardless of a diver's depth or skill level. I did not think it was at all controversial?

Once I had the blog up, I posted it on Facebook, and a few other places, including a popular scuba forum. Almost immediately, I was attacked on this forum by a group of GUE divers, led by a fellow Floridian. For those who are not familiar with GUE, they are a small, not for profit, diver training membership organization. Up front I should say that I am not certified by GUE, a member of GUE, or really very knowledgeable in the GUE philosophy. Apparently, the topic of responsibility is something that threatens them greatly, and they let me know it.

JC & dogs_small

Me, Rambo & Little Black Dog

They took what I had posted, and immediately misrepresented it. In multiple posts, they changed my message from Responsibility, to "Every man for himself", and me promoting the evils of Solo diving. They dissected what I said, removed the context, and argued against... what I had not even said? Then they started the personal attacks. My message was not only "dangerous", I was "dangerous", or more accurately, "very dangerous"!! I was compared to an infamous figure in cave diving (some guy I have never heard of??) but I was even more "dangerous" than the villain cave diver? I was described as, "despicable", and "not a good person". They pronounced me a "Pariah", an outcast, of the diving community? They attacked my military service to my country, first by assuming I had never served in the military and hypothetically stating that... IF, as a young man, I had served in the military, my fellow troops would have killed me, because of my "every man for himself" attitude? When they discovered that as a young man I served as a combat medic in Vietnam, they then switched the attack to accusing me of being a crazed solo, "Rambo"? As we all know, only half of this stuff is true!! 🙂

To their credit, the Forum managers removed many of the offensive posts, without my asking. Amazingly, all of this is because I proposed that divers venturing to 200 feet or deeper need to be self reliant, and responsible.

Why? Why are  these characters so threatened by the idea of "responsibility"? Why are they so threatened by the concept of self-reliance? Why are they so intolerant? In my opinion, they are zealots, desperate to be in control. To me, they appear to prefer prophets, and mindless disciples, to discussion and progress. They seem to insist on blind loyalty to the party line, as opposed to free thought and a sharing of ideas. To me, this just does not sound like fun?

Whether these bullies like it or not, they represent GUE, and their DIR philosophy. I have no idea if any, or all, GUE divers agree with these tactics or not, because I am not part of the GUE community? These divers cannot have anything positive to offer the greater diving community if they need to rigidly control the narrative, make no allowance for others, and attack alternative ideas using intimidation, misdirection, and character assassination. They seem to believe that they are entitled to their philosophy, but I am not entitled to mine, which is pure crap.

chili 1_small

Fetch Chili!

To me, diving is about fun and freedom, not virtual assaults. I enjoy diving different ways, using different tools, and experimenting with new ideas and equipment. I do not dive today, as I did five years ago, and five years from now I expect it  will be different still. Listening to new ideas, sharing philosophies, and watching diving evolve is part of what I love about diving. The dive forums should be almost as much fun as diving itself, but no one wants to ask a question, or offer an opinion, only to be virtually abused by a gang of forum thugs.

I don't believe for a minute that the mainstream internet dive community accepts or believes anything these bullies post, however they prevent us from using the dive forums to their full potential. In too many cases, the extreme minority, is controlling the conversation of the majority. What these forum bullies do, is bad for all of us, and it is bad for diving, IMHO.

In no way, do I intend to offend any dogs. 🙂

Cheers

65 Responses

  1. Steve
    well said John. there are lots of us who do understand and appreciate the knowledge and opinions you have to share.
  2. Excellent post. Bravo.
  3. Jeannette
    Oh John, how true and reminiscent of the past this was for me to read. You are, however, more generous in the analogy than I, with the use of dogs (I really did enjoy the puppy pictures though). Dive safe. xx
  4. John, I have heard of DIR but GUE is a new one for me. From your blog reaction to their initial attack on you though, they don't seem to be too focused on the positives of solo diving. You are right, solo diving is about being self reliant; if we integrate another person into our safety plan, then we are allowing for a number of potential failures to enter into our survival equation. True, this is in reference to technical diving more than recreational but we are still ultimately responsible for our own safety in that venue as well. Keep up the good blogs!
  5. Bravo on all counts. You and others trying to do the right thing are just better people. No doubt.
  6. Well said John, well said. I used to participate in the various rebreather forums but I found exactly what you described and have since just remained a spectator on them. Like you, I choose just to not say anything and let them be. Never ran into any GUE divers but some of the people I have dove with have and none of them have anything good to say about them or the org. It's unfortunate that people have to be that way. Maybe that's just the way society is going as a whole and this is just a reflection of it? I hope you don't stop blogging because of the dissenting voices of a few. You've been an inspiration to far greater number of divers than that org represents!
  7. Mike A
    John thanks for reminding me of the stupidity and the infighting out there. Having spent a few day's with you as my instructor, I have complete confidence in your advice. Why is that every time I hear GUE that a bad story is attached? Unless they are fellow veterans that served with you they have absolute no buisness mentioning anything about your service. GUE needs to grow with the industry. I know some disciplines in GUE are good. But they are limited in the ability to grow in an ever evolving science. I am Proud of you and to know John Chatterton
  8. Jef
    I recently finished my trimix classes and the experiences I had were enlightening and relevant. I specifically chose an instructor and a location that would allow me to do this "old school" where the class was taught as deep air for more than a week and then the final dives were done on trimix. The experiences I had during the deep air portion were truly eye-opening. On one dive, my entire class (except for me) succumbed to narcosis and were lured below the depth limit set pre-dive by the very tricky instructor. Post-dive briefing revealed that one of my classmates did not remember half of the dive, namely the part where I yanked on his arm several times to tell him NOT to break his limit - instead fighting me off to go deeper. He had a complete loss of that 5 minutes of bottom time. How much help do you think this buddy would be if I really had a problem and needed his help? It made me start thinking about how I dive, and "what bad looks like." During a difficult situation, very deep, in low viz, when narcosis is really kicking, what's an emergency look like? If he had equipment failure/OOA, would he be able to share correctly while maintaining buoyancy and swimming out/up? What's it really look like to share trimix or deco gasses while swimming/scootering a couple hundred/thousand feet out of Eagle's Nest? In those situations, would I want to be diving with that buddy or would it be better to be solo with the correct (redundant) gear? Would my buddy recognize his limits or would he feel social pressure to stay with the team and bend the rules enough that there's not enough mental buffer to deal with other issues when the come up? Do I think he would select the right deco gas, switch his computer, stop at the right depth, and be competent to dive after being so narc'ed? I know my limits, and the classes (trimix, cave, sidemount, etc) I took as well as just getting out and diving a lot helped me to find them. I only have a few buddies I would trust to tell me if they're not dealing with narcosis well on that day, or that they're not dialed in, or not comfortable going into a tight silty passage, or that they have a non-ideal mix for the dive and would rather just do another dive or dive another day, or just that the stars aren't aligning and their mind's just not ready for a dive. Coincidentally, every single one of these buddies is what I would call a "self-sufficient diver", and almost every single one of them practices self-sufficient solo diving from time to time.
  9. Vance
    Let me make a kind of slantwise comparison. I once asked (in all innocence) a French co-worker if he knew Cousteau. This was when JYC was still alive, and I was still starry eyed. In return to that question, I got a very Gaelic sniff, and: "Humph, Cousteau, he know ME!" This from a man involved with the French naval manned undersea program almost from its modern inception. I have learned since then that there is a very real and hard-earned vanity at work in the specialist fields. You have to believe! Cousteau was on the forefront of work with 1-atmosphere submersibles--once upon a time. Those of us who came along behind perfected the art to the best of our abilities. We dove hard in what we considered (with more than a little justification) to be superior equipment, and utilized superior (if ever changing) technique. We earned our spurs with tens of thousands of more-or-less accident free in-water operations. Cousteau's little saucer languished like your grandfather's '57 Chevy. It was awkward, slow, and inordinately hard to maintain. And yet, which submersible do you think of first today? The Diving Saucer, of course. Cousteau campaigned his sub hard, and earned his own kudos in the process. Anyone who took potshots needed only to look at the results. As it turned out, there was no right way or wrong way. There was only the diving. "Monge, dormir, plonge," we called it. Eat, sleep, dive. You want to curl your lip at us, you'd better have a valid reason. John has his, and we're all on our own versions of the same trip. Anyone who says differently is talking through his backside. 'Nuff said.
  10. diane cooper
    Well done John, I listened to you speak twice and met you once. For someone who has risen to such popularity in this industry you certainly have your head on the ground and ego in check. I will listen to whatever you have to say and probably will agree with most of it. I welcome a breath of fresh dialog for points of view and opinions. I have grown increasingly tired of the scuba.BS forums that flourish feeding the mass un-thinking.
  11. Jean-Louis Courteau
    I am an artist. A painter. Even in my field, there is this tendency to form elite groups, associations of painters of a certain genre that believe they hold the truth, they know how... It is a human trait, human nature, to camouflage uncertainty, doubt and/or lack of self-confidence (or responsability!) by associating with peers. Force in numbers, when it can't be found inside. We do it even when we associate in the denunciation of this, maybe! Of course, the best way to respond to unconstructive criticism is with the peace of knowing we act accordingly to our convictions, to the best of our integrity...
  12. TAB
    Some things never change, internet bullies among them. I haven't been in the water (or in the forums) in quite a while, but I'm not surprised to hear this is still going on.
  13. I had the pleasure of meeting John Chatterton at Fill Express in January. He is wonderful guy with amazing dive experience and a willingness to share his knowledge. I am not sure what causes the egomania on the Scuba Board like forums but it is there. I suspect it all comes down to control. It reminds me of fights over the "one true god" that may not even exist. No one wins. I am TDI trained and I love the team I usually dive with but I know it is not the only way. I urge John to keep on blogging. He has made more deep dives than most of us combined and he is alive to write abut them and he does it with sincerity.
  14. Man I could not have said it better myself I have had nothing but bad vibes with the GUE crowd they almost had me convinced I should give up diving unless I get certified by them as I am sure to die, now years later and not so green I realise what a crock of bulls..t propaganda they were feeding me. And yes I solo dive and am certified with SDI, some of the worst experiences diving I have has was with a buddy my wife who is a great diver being one of those buddies :-)
  15. Lango
    Very well said John, I applaud everything you have posted here.
  16. Very well put John. I agree with everything you have said thus far, and totally understood your previous post. As a student and friend of yours I consider it a privilege to know you and dive with you. I learn something every time we talk.
  17. Oh and in addition John you are an inspiration to those of us who have been bullied on forums by the GUE crowd as I, as do many look up to you especially after reading your books and realise there are other ways to dive than the dictatorial GUE way :-)
  18. I have only dove with a GUE diver once. Sadly to say, he was arrogant, had difficulty exiting the boat, separated from his buddy, and ended up arguing with the captain about an (obviously) very important point the captain was trying to make. We have not dove with him since. I really had no opinion of GUE other than I thought the DIR gear configurations were very practical and nice. I dont like all of them, but I do use many of their configurations. I have watched their DVD's and was not super impressed, other than by George Irvine's donning of a backplate in DIR3. I have always considered George Irvine a pioneer in the sport, and a true innovator. However with what I have seen transpire over the last few days, I have come to believe the norm and not the exception for a GUE diver is a diver like the guy that I dove with. Arguing with the captain is a bad idea, even if you are Scuba Reuben. I want to have fun diving, experiment, and try new things. I also like diving with a variety of divers and seeing how others get it done. Scuba diving is not that difficult, and we do not need to turn it into an unpleasant cold task. GUE feels like a jack boot squadron or a military wing of some sort. To me being pushed around, told how to dive, and attempted to be ridiculed if I dont blindly agree with their philosophy is not fun. I am all for team diving in certain circumstances, however I like the flexibility to dive the way I want to when I want to.
  19. John thank you for your insight. I understood completely what you intended in your first blog about self-reliance. I am a relatively new diver and have yet to enter the Tec world but it is my goal to do so. And I am eager to learn from experienced divers such as yourself as much as I can so as to be better armed when I'm able to go Tec. Thankyou and please keep posting as you see fit. I look forward to your future posts.
  20. John P
    Hmmm - I never hear anything good said about GUE. What's up with them?
  21. Dave
    Great blogs, John! You know you're dead on, man. It doesn't take long on many social forums to find this type of behavior described. I enjoy the forums but find it hard to read through comments and replies.
  22. Thomas A. Burke
    John, I was a divemaster (NAUI) in New Jersey for years. If I wasn't doing a tour or checkout, I was diving solo. Pony bottles and isolated doubles was the way to go. As divemaster I would check everyone's gear looking for new and interesting ways of attaching bags and lights...etc and telling newbies why they shouldn't use suicide clips. For me it was a learning experience. At one time Nitrox was Voo Doo Gas and if you did a safety stop at 15ft you could be drummed out of PADI for doing a deco dive. Without growth and innovation we would be nothing more than South Pacific pearl divers.
  23. Joan Ricard
    John anyone that has read anything about your time in the military would soon realize that you are the complete opposite of "every man for himself" From what I have read you risked your life on several occasions for your fellow soldiers. What I got from your original post was that as divers we need to be self reliant down there. You stated that you would help a fellow diver solve a problem in any way you could. Divers must realize the risk they are taking when they are diving deep and they best be prepared to deal with the issues that come up. We are responsible for our own safety and if there is a gas issue at depth a diver best be prepared to deal with it because at that depth there is no point in two divers not making it out alive. Keep posting those that follow the post appreciate your candor and insight.
  24. I think every one else has said what needs to be said about the whole personal attack debate. The only thing I want to reinforce is that I sincerely hope it won't discourage you from blogging. I think you have a wealth of experience worth sharing and want to hear more. The great thing about a blog - it's your opinion on the page. Cheers John www.tassiediver-johnsilberberg.blogspot.com
  25. geoff
    Excellent article, as was the first one! So far this is the most sensible blog I've read - not just for diving, but of anything I've read on the internet (which is why I usually avoid reading blogs). Please keep up the great commentary
  26. they will have a hard time convincing any passionate diving faithful that you, the hero and inspiration of so many ( and my reason for starting to dive) are a danger to us. I rather think small minded half baked diving idiots that attack you should check who there dealing with before they jump in with their comments!!
  27. kevin
    Don't believe the not-for-profit line from GUE. They sell training and are in bed with equipment manufacturers (I'm looking at you Halcyon). GUE and DIR are just product names like Aqua-Lung and ScubaPro. Don't believe the hype or anyone who says there is only one "right" way to do things.
  28. Dave Lattomus
    Thanks so much for hanging in there, John. Please keep the blog going. So nice to hear a breathe of fresh air from someone so knowledgeable.
  29. Rob
    (by "a good mixture" I meant from different organisations...
  30. Andrew MacKnight
    Keep going, John. your blog is outstanding.
  31. Bernie Saccaro
    John, What do a Special Olympics gold medal winner and the winner of an Internet argument have in common?
  32. I bet the drums are beating and plots being hatched as I type!! The dark lord will be gathering his minions in some subterranean lair...... Hmmm. I remember standing in a carpark in Weymouth many years ago, being lectured by a DIR zealot on the perils of not having soft rubber knobs on my twinset. To this day I wonder why the chap thought it his place, or perhaps duty, to correct my foolish oversight. How I had survived the previous, or subsequent, 15 years diving is a mystery. I know a few DIR divers and mostly a fine bunch so I have no quarrel with their diving technique, only with their attitude to others and as JC says, intolerance and blinkered vision. For those that would like to smile, have a read of Louise's fabulous article on "Doin' it right", from Dive Girl back in the day. http://www.divegirl.com/dir.html Bet you can't guess who didn't see the funny side. Keep blogging John.
  33. Denis Finnegan
    Thanks John for an insightful post. I am sorry you were attacked. I continue to be amazed at the willingness of some to attack versus engage in helpful dialog. I have had the pleasure of learning from many during my diving career and will continue that journey with vigor. It is my humble opinion that we (I) need to open our minds and hearts and listen to all who come before us and try to understand the why and then make a decision. I had a great experience last summer. I was preparing to dive with a friend who has been gue, tdi, and other trained. I totally respect his abilities and willingness to share. We were discussing a potential entanglement issue and I was saying the GUE way was X and he politely asked "why?" I could not answer other than I thought being able to ditch the can light was important. We had a great discussion of options and the clear fact that other items were more probably to entangle than the can light. We came to a conclusion that balanced the risk and reward. My point is he was willing to engage in dialog and look at alternatives and risks versus rewards.. That is more important to me than a set of rules. I am a retired submarine officer, and having spent years underwater on a complex machine, I know one thing for sure. We must trust each other, engage the team concept, and be willing to change when new ideas, technology , etc. appear. Thanks to you and all that have served our country and who are willing to help us learn to enjoy diving! I will be in Florida in April to continue my learning journey at Fill Express. Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance. Confucius Thanks Denis
  34. Hello John! I have a Diveship in south of sweden, and its allowed to do solodiving aboard. i know what you mean about dogs,, stay away from forums, do diving instead! Nice blog anyway, dont bye all you write, but mostly is true in my world. And thats the fantastic thing, everything is different, day to day, place to place , situation to situation,,, you are welcome abord anyday!
  35. scott
    Hey John; A great repley! I did my Deco and Extended Range training with John. He taught us to reley on ourself! I teach OWD, and on one occasion had a student go out on a blog and rip me apart, and then had others join in. The student even signed his name and where he was taking lessons! We gave him his money back, and asked him to please go attend classes some where else. As a student he was not willing to listen to my idesa, only ones off a blog. Wish I had Rambo in class with me that day!
  36. Brian Weinstein
    John, like you, I remember those early days of internet bashing of divers skills, techniques, and opinions.. It was their way or the highway, no inbetween.. Any good ideas they had where overshadowed by there attacks and degradation.. We (Northeast wreck divers) had no clue what we were doing, unless of course we belonged to their club.. I'm glad those days are over.. Looking forward to more of your posts, keep them coming..
  37. Evan
    Don't sweat it, John (I'm sure you don't). The GUE crowd builds its entire self-worth and business model around the myth that they are the keepers of THE one and only right way of doing things and that anyone who does not adhere to the philosophy, practice and ritual is a "very dangerous" heretic. There is a certain personality that gravitates toward this kind of absolutism and extremism and fundamentalism. It allows them to build their own ego (and, for a small core of their leaders, build their bank account balances) on the belief that they are part of a superior group with special knowledge and skills to be admired and emulated. This same mentality is universal among zealots of all kinds. They are, naturally, threatened by any new science or philosophy or technology that does not fit into their belief structure. They eschew critical thinking and evidence-based analysis. They are intolerant of anyone questioning of the dogma or the authority that establishes it. If the description I just wrote sounds much like religious extremism, it is; it's the exact same mentality that draws some people to organizations like the Westboro Baptist Church or extremism of any kind.
  38. bevfbur
    Sounds a lot like horse sites, hijacked indeed!!!
  39. Txninja
    Well said. The kind of blind dogma propagated by these idiots (not gue - the 'dogs') has no place in a modern, rational and critical thinking society. It's reminiscent of religious extremism where once moral messages are distorted for personal gain.
  40. Paulo Francisco da Silva
    Congratulações John, sou seu admirador e espeito muito suas opiniões. Não aceito as imposições da DIR e de seus afiliados. Eles nada agregam ao maravilhoso mundo submarino e seus usuários. Águas claras e bons mergulhos... sempre :D
  41. Ben
    Pretty much why I've been avoiding those forums anymore...too many people who probably don't even dive spewing!
  42. John, I am GUE trained and have supported the organization for a long time. While GUE has had some dark times in the past, as other training agencies, it is unfair to lump all followers of GUE together. There are many of us who do not share the same "beliefs" as those who may post on Internet forums. I have many good diving friends who were not trained by GUE and I enjoy diving with them as much as my GUE friends. There are reasons why I don't visit forums like ScubaBoard, as my type of support for GUE isn't shared by those who post on those forums. Your statements here, in my opinion, seem to perpetuate the beliefs that GUE (and their supporters) all share the same opinions. Many of the comments to this blog post seem to reaffirm that. Diving is fun and discussing Internet bullies and scuba politics is a waste of time. You are correct, an open mind, from all sides of diving, can result in some great dives.
    • Duane, Thanks for sharing your opinion. I did not try to lump all GUE divers together, and stated that I really don't know much about GUE in the first place, but it is interesting that you used the word, "followers", to describe GUE divers? Regardless, rigid dogma, personal attacks, and dog pack tactics effectively end the discussion and exchange of ideas, and that was the focus of my blog, not attacking the ideals, or followers of GUE.
  43. J5
    The more blow back you get the truer the information you have written. Thank you for all you do for diving. It was great to see you at OWU last week end. Like the rest of your supporters I look forward to your next post.
  44. Dude, I have known you for 5 years now. In fact 5 years ago I emailed you concerning your Brother's passing. I saved your reply, and every once in a while read it again. I will now make a positive statement. Those GUE people do not know you. I knew you for 3 years before I read Shadow Divers. My opinion of you was formed before I read it. Thats as Flowery as I'm going to get. Looking Forward, Fizz
  45. guy harrison
    I am astonished to hear about the personal attacks that were posted against you. I was away from that thread for a few days and did not see them yesterday, so I guess the moderators did a good job of cutting them out. I did make a post questioning whether the self-reliant philosophy might go too far if it meant planning the dive so tight that sharing gas was not possible, but that was for a discussion point. I did some research on your history and your accomplishments and you certainly have been a pioneer taking diving to ultimate limits. I think people (especially a diver like me who has made only one 200 foot dive in his life) should remember this before taking potshots at your philosophy. You were pushing the limits safely, and surviving, for a long time. Still, I found that a lot of the GUE "team" perspective to be well stated and interesting, although some posts were indeed over the top (and I guess I did not even see the worst ones). Also, you had some eloquent defenders as well. The internet is still the wild west in many ways, but personally I am very glad you posted what you did as, much of the discussion was valuable. I hope I get to meet you in person one day.
  46. 100% the truth. I've been on the boards but don't post a lot, for that very reason.
  47. [...] This blog has been moved, and is now being hosted on my own website… Read the rest of this blog post at JohnChatterton.com [...]
  48. tekdvr
    DIR = Divers Ignoring Reality...
  49. Lee
    John, I could not agree more about the Alpha dog and pack mentality. I watched it from DEMA,s, PADI, and Skin Diver Magaxine's tiraid about the dangers of nitrox to the groups you mentioned in your blog. I dove with a group of hardcore wreck divers on Lake Superior. Our philosophy was, if it works for you, who cares? The only requirements we had back then was power inflate BC and no rods on your J valve. When I started selling equipment to dive stores and they asked for advice about equipment, I would ask what " religion" they subscibed to. There were about four and my advice would take that into consideration. The chat rooms have cleaned most, but not all, of that up. There is still a large amount of mis-information and myth circulating on the web.
  50. Andy B
    John, Well said and keep up the blogging!!! Your honesty, input, and vast experience is very appreciated. Don't stop...(I am sure you are not planning to anyways). Thanks Andy
  51. Craig
    I think it is a shame when a group of people attack someone else for differing opinions but please don't think it is just GUE. I have moderated on Diving forums, Landrover forums and Mini forums over the years and it happens with them all. It happens in real life also. I am PADI, NOB, BSAC and GUE trained. Most of the people I dive with are not GUE but it does not stop us all diving together. Many of the comments I read here are fair enough. Coming from real contact with other agencies. Some of the coments are no better than the ones I hear some people complaining about. I mean, have you ever spoken to a high up BSAC diver. GUE has nothing on them for preaching. It would be a boring old world if we were all the same. Right, back to my "lair"
    • John Chatterton
      Agreed, all the way around. However, just because "this other" agency does it, or does it more, is a lame excuse. Personal attacks only happen when the attackers cannot successfully argue the merits of their perspective. By the way, how come they can't successfully argue the merits of their opinion??? :) Thanks for he sharing. Cheers
      • Craig
        I have personally found it is normally the more recently qualified divers that get into these arguments. They know what to do but still not quite got round to using thier new found knowledge in anger and not able to explain adequatly the "whys and whats" of the agency system. I went into the basic Fundamentals coarse with quite a few negative opinions but over the first couple of days you have some "Ahhh, so that's why they do that" moments and things fall into place and I walked away from the coarse a better diver. As I see this is a more US based board, you probably won't get to involved with BSAC. Now if you want to discuss hogloop with someone highup in the training agency, you will come away convinced you will die. GUE.....is it better or worse than other agencies, no, it is just different
        • John Chatterton
          I am not an agency. I am a just a diver. At the same time, it is not news to me that I am going to die. I am just absolutely determined that it is not going to be today!! CHeers
  52. Debbie
    It's because they have small willies and think they need to proof something... :) But no kidding, I've been attacked by the dogs aswell, one of the moderators joined them because he belonged to the same pack. Luckily I could convince the other mods that he was prejudiced and he stepped down. After I received a deathwish in a personal message I rapported the sender to GUE international because I really felt he didn't represent the organisation well. I do believe GUE isn't proud of these members who need to provoke and can only excist in a pack but there is not much else you can do...
    • Craig
      Nice reply, if only it did not have the name calling.
      • Debbie
        What name calling are you talking about?
    • John Chatterton
      Jajajajajaja A deathwish over internet diving....... means that someone really needs a life. :) Thanks for sharing.
  53. Me(Seattle)
    Same thing occurs at our local website. Well put.
  54. Thanks for this article John. I've just posted a link to this on a forum where people are acting just like the dogs you describe!
  55. Michael Griffin
    Hi John, Like Duane - I am a full blown GUE diver. I also 100% agree with the difficulties on the Internet; with the keyboard warrior syndrome... Irrespective of agency... the world has it's share of Zealots. I have been the only highly active GUE diver in the Republic of Ireland for many years now... and I share my views (if) asked. I have fun diving and I dive in mixed agency teams. I used to get a lot of flack for being GUE (I was an easy target... I was on my own - but diving with other buddies from other agencies!)... but over time people (real divers not online divers) realised I was committed to the way I was diving - executed my dives well - helped others in and out of the water and was not in anyway casting judgements!! I take the slagging with a smile and try to give back in humor what I take - its all banter and a bit of pre dive fun!! I got that attitude from my GUE instructors - they never once in all the courses I did or since in my many, many Florida & Mexico cave diving trips did they bad mouth any other agency. For anyone online to start making personal attacks - I believe this to be against what I learned from GUE... I gave up on forums years ago... I love ur blog... I am really writing this to say that in general GUE are not mindless guys... but there will always be people on the fringe of every organisation who make us blush!! For myself - I take pride in being a good diver and a prepared and reliable buddy. I think any GUE diver truly committed to principles thought by GUE will be stung and embarrassed to read that in 2013 there are people writing that "they have heard nothing good about GUE divers!" Clearly we have more quiet, solid work to do!! After all we all really just want to go diving! Right? So I always say spend less time on keyboards and more time in water doing what I hope we all still love to do - go diving and come home safe to our loved ones. I think the best description for GUE I have ever heard came from a GUE instructor "it's kind of like martial arts... there are many styles; GUE is just one... there are many more to choose from!" GUE I think is not "scared" of the independence/self-reliance message (IMHO)... but GUE is absolutel committed to team/buddy diving - this is probably where the wires crossed and the issue heated up to levels it should not have reached!! Hope that helps a little ?? Yours in diving, Michael
  56. Torontodiver
    I love your writing and philosophy. Keep up the great work. If I may make one suggestion, it would be to use fewer question marks. You have a strong opinion and I like it.
  57. Robert H. Hughes
    JC, I am in the same mind set as you are in regard to the forum world. God forbid you ask a simple question asking for feedback and expect "All" to answer it in an unbiased manner. In the conversations I have had with you - I believe that you and I have the same feelings on diving at All levels of experience. I can say as an instructor that somewhere between a certified diver and a tech level diver something comes unwired? We all got into diving for adventure and fun- Right? I feel that in most cases once a person starts down the road of tech diving they become biased and opinionated! I have done my share of DEEP dives and hold certification for Solo as well. Yes- I dive alone and Yes- I dive well past the set recreational limitations. And I am alive to talk about it as a result of meticulous training, practice and experience. Some of these organizations that I won't mention (DIR & GUE) have this attitude that if you are not doing it their way you are doing it the wrong way? Excuse me BUT - Who the Hell do they think they are? As I tell ALL my new students- There are many ways to do things and the way I am training you is the way that works for me, if you have a way of doing the same thing that is more comfortable and SAFE don't feel that you have to do it my way! I dove with several GUE divers on a deep wreck here in Lake Michigan just a few months ago - I told you about this dive- what I didn't tell you was the experience I had with some of the fellow divers! They were GUE (Global Underwater Explorers) Cert. Deep- Advanced Nitrox- Deco Procedure divers. They were diving double 130 back gas and I was diving side-mount 100's with a 40 bail, as I usually do. I was getting ready to splash, when one of these "Dive Gods" shot out of the water like a cork from 160' after 15 minutes of bottom time at depth. Keep in mind they had grilled me about my rig and choice of regs. the entire 26 mile trip out! I explained that I dive my Nomad as I have back issues and ALL my gear is gone over meticulously before any deep or overhead environment dive. I dive with Poseidon regs and that is what I am comfortable with! They said if I wasn't using Halcyon and Scubapro I wasn't safe and was doing things unsafe? Back to Mr. Cork- He decided at 160' it was a good idea to move the boat anchor to avoid damaging the wreck on retrieval- I agree with that much! He (as we all know) found the anchor to heavy to move without some counter buoyancy and instead of using his "approved" lift bag to move it - he would instead inflate his "Approved Halcyon Bladder"! Stupid idea Right? Nothing says I am properly trained to a superior level like that! Well-his "approved" inflator stuck and instead of an emergency dump procedure and disconnecting the LP hose, he took the Fast Elevator to the surface! He popped out and immediately called for HELP. So- In my non-sufficient gear I splashed and went and retrieved him while doing an emergency rescue. You have no idea how badly I wanted to cut every web strap to remove him from his superior rig - But, I refrained!!!!! I got him out of his gear and on the boat, where he was immediately put on oxygen. I then collected my non-GUE certified girlfriend and we proceeded to do a 23 min BT with 38 min Deco dive on the wreck without any issues from our non-sufficient gear or training. When we returned to the boat, I again refrained to mention what a big mouthed, opinionated, un-properly trained, lucky to be alive IDIOT he was as he was sucking oxygen!!! What the long and short of this is- If you feel that you are the only one who has the ability to do certain types of dives based on the gear you wear, the card in your pocket or your personal opinion- you are Grossly Mistaken. I realize that in this country we have the freedom of speech- however- If you are a biased and opinionated know it all- shut your mouth and let the rest of us ENJOY our time underwater and on the forums!!!!!!!!!! Love the Blog John and don't let's not allow the opinionated A-Holes ruin our day! Looking forward to diving with you on 7/28. I will be diving my non-approved gear! LMFAO
  58. Your post is excellent and the way I have been seeing this group. Many good replies given in the blog above. I add that I think they are basically act like a cult. Its most unfortunate. The intolerance of other divers and their practices, the excessive importance given to trim.... the list goes on and one points to an organization that will eventually implode due to its extreme practices. Mr. Chatterton: Someday I will have the honor to take a class from you. Wish it could come sooner than later. Thank you for speaking out.

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