Agency bashing... what is it and why we don't allow it.

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The Chairman

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That we don't allow agency bashing is in our ToS, but if you ask any SBer what that means, they'll often be at odds with many others. Even the mods have a hard time with this, so I believe it's time to sort this out.

Agency bashing is the act of disparaging an agency's reputation without any evidence to back up your claims.

This includes...
Stating an agency is dangerous
Stating that an agency is only there for profit
Suggesting that an agency sucks (etc)
Repeatedly misrepresenting an agency​

However, it does not include...
Whether you like an agency or not
Your opinion in regards to certain standards
Citing individual instructors or divers for poor behavior
Any praise for a particular agency (ies)​

The point of this ban on agency bashing is to make ScubaBoard a friendly place for all flavors of agencies while still remaining relevant. Telling us "that x agency sucks" does nothing to further any discussion. It only adds rancor in a way that silts out any discussion. However, if you don't like that x agency requires underwater basket weaving, then you're allowed to point that out.

Misrepresenting an agency is a bit trickier. For most intents and purposes, if an instructor for x agency says they allow or don't allow a certain practice, then let's accept that. There's no need to keep disagreeing with them about it unless you're an instructor for that agency. It's not anyone's place to tell people from any agency what they teach: they actually know. It becomes nothing but trolling after a while and we don't allow that either.

Let's be nice. Yeah, some of the people posting on ScubaBoard have a much higher opinion of their expertise than maybe they should. Some have an agenda that they push ad nauseum. I'm all about teaching neutrally (no kneeling) and rather than tell everybody who kneels that they are horrible, I try to just post why and how I do it this way. So, it's OK to have an agenda, but it's not OK to hijack thread after thread to push your pet agenda. I don't go into a thread about which mask to wear and get on my cyber soapbox to preach about not kneeling. Again, it's simply part and parcel of being nice.

Feel free to add to this conversation. I might steal your ideas and add them to this OP. Ask questions too.
 

Colliam7

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The training and certification 'agencies' in scuba are invaluable adjuncts to advancing the quality of training, and - consequently - diving. Although I am primarily affiliated with one, through which I conduct the majority of my teaching, I am intrigued by, and interested in, the standards and practices of others. Several years ago, I even started a thread in which I stated that I would love to go through OW training with another agency (or two, or three), so that I might better appreciate the subtle differences in the approach of each agency's curriculum. This was not because I am somehow dissatisfied with my own, but because I welcome the opportunity to learn what others do, and why.

I have many friends / colleagues / dive buddies / acquaintances across multiple agencies, other than the one I am primarily affiliated with. I learn from them, they learn from me, and together we generally come to better understand that the similartities across agencies far outweigh the differences. But, subtle differences present learning opportunities!

Legitimate questions, and criticisms, are welcome on SB. Discussion, and debate is how we all learn. One thing that many agree with, across agency affiliation, is that the quality (or lack thereof) of an Instructor makes a big difference in training. Like it or not, the individual can still make a (big) difference.

The same is true, by the way, in any educational process, at any level. I have spent much of my career teaching in university. A few of my best colleagues on faculty were also individuals who I thought were terrible teachers - they 'knew their stuff', they just couldn't convey it is an informative, interesting, and appealing manner. Like it or not, teachers are, to a certain extent, 'performers'. And, these very bright colleagues simply could not be that. That ability - to engage the student through 'performance' - has little to do with the agency - or university - with which they are affiliated. I do not judge an agency, or a university, by the personality of an individual 'facuilty' members.

So, when I read a post in which an individual describes a less than optimal training experience, I usually am left wondering about the individual instructor, rather than the agency, and about the 'student'. I know what my agency's standards are. It is up to the agency to make sure, in my credentialing process, that I know what they are. It is up to me to meet them. The 'good news' is that the majority of instructors, across agencies, meet, and usually exceed, those standards, to train safe and competent divers.
 

Capt Jim Wyatt

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So, when I read a post in which an individual describes a less than optimal training experience, I usually am left wondering about the individual instructor, rather than the agency

Me too.

The agencies I teach through have high training standards. OTOH they also have some instructors who do not always feel the need to meet those standards.

Agency bashing is also when someone purposely misrepresents what an "agency" did to them to suit their agenda.
 

Wookie

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Agency bashing is also when someone purposely misrepresents what an "agency" did to them to suit their agenda.
Like disliking what a politician does and blaming everyone who voted for the party that the politician is a member of. It’s all just tribal.
 

OTF

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"...disparaging an agency's reputation without any evidence..."

So to be clear, it's not okay to say "X agency sucks" but it is okay to say "X agency sucks because their standards are sub-par as evidenced by Y"

I'm good with that.
 

Johnoly

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..Your opinion in regards to certain standards
....
Not sure if you want to clarify if it's acceptable to ?complain/whine? about timely service directly from an agency. There are frequently new divers on SB just getting certified before catching a plane/boat and not getting the treasured plastic "c-card" as promised. And it's not just BOW cards. A popular un-named cave agency in the past would not send out replacement cards due to difficulty in locating their printer. Not sure how you would define it being an overly broad term of 'customer service' but not so exact as 'cards'. I'm not a TOS writer, just a bender :)
 

Scuba Client

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Me too.

The agencies I teach through have high training standards. OTOH they also have some instructors who do not always feel the need to meet those standards.

Agency bashing is also when someone purposely misrepresents what an "agency" did to them to suit their agenda.
Experienced divers understand the training agency isn't to blame. The real culprit is the individual who provided inadequate training. All the relevant agencies have advanced diver training over the years.
 
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