Monthly Archives: October 2016

Dark Trolls Abound

Background

My wife and I teach people how to swim, I admit we charge higher than most other swim instructors, but we get results. Some of our students started from never going into the pool, to being able to do 50m swim. We market ourselves through social networks such as facebook and Instagram, which leads to our website at effortlessswim.com. Teaching swimming supplements my salary, while it is currently the main income for my wife.

Situation:

Recently, someone on facebook commented on several of our posts, posting the same comment to more than 40 of our posts. Degrading our classes, our methods and our results. Reading it, I admit I was upset, I was angry, I was frustrated. But I kept in mind, haters be hating. I was torn for a moment to not feed the trolls, but realized that they posted on several of our posts, more than 40! So, I thought, hey this person really wants to be heard, so I decided to reply to them to ensure them, that they have been heard by replying to their comment.

The troll comments

I only found out the troll comments 2 hours after the posts.

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My reply

This reply I made was composed as soon as I read the comments. And copy pasted as replies to other comments the person made.

Thank you for your input.
however we do what we can to get students to be able to swim. in the end most of our students are able to swim, that is what we feel is important, we do recommend our student to practice on their own after the classes. we hope our students who have tried our classes for the last 2 years to be our testimonials.
but let me present from our side.

1. improper teaching and injury. we haven’t have any feedback from previous students about injuries, we do try to teach the “proper” techniques, but we allow for “imperfections” as we do not expect the students get everything perfect in their first swimming classes.
*drag water, resistance, and short glide. we actually try to tell students to reduce drag, unfortunately some have heavy legs, and still new to the techniques to maintain a streamline position. and some are even uncomfortable with a long glide as it requires them to be under water for longer than they are comfortable with.

2. high price is a matter for perspective, and mastering the basics of swimming takes a lot of time and effort, even for people who have swam for a while, we do what we can to share or to inform or educate our students on the basic skills, but to master and perfect it will take some more time and practice after the class.

3. pay more? we don’t force them to join and pay for our next classes unless they are comfortable with what they learnt in the previous classes. if they choose to, some (very rarely) may take the same class again to master what they learnt. but others often choose to practice on their own until they are ready for the next level.

4. the “talking” i guess you are talking about may refer to when we are sharing the principles behind the swim techniques, in other cases it may be to help get the students comfortable, before and in between drills. we believe that an effective method teaching method is not just showing the students what they should do, but also informing them, and reminding them of the reasons behind it. sometimes it is also a time for us to give them feedback on their techniques on what they can do to improve.

5. beware? sure, everyone should be wary or be aware before they take any class. do their own research, own due dilligence, they might even be wary of any positive or negative comments, everyone should practice making up their own minds before accepting anything they read or hear. including our classes. make up your own mind. make your own decisions, if you choose that this class is worth it or not, it is your choice.

6. no improvements and getting worse? we are unclear where you are getting this information, most of our students starts from zero, as in not being able to swim, to being able to swim, at least the width of the pool, to even 50m of the people. we do not expect everyone to learn at the same pace, we admit different people may learn at a different rate, and we have had a rare few have not been able to swim as well as the other students. but everyone does their best.

7, 8, 9. waste of time, energy and money? everyone has a right to subjectively determine that own their own. we do not judge anyone who have their own opinions, if you believe so, then it is your choice to do so, if anyone do not believe that this class is worth their time, energy and money, then we may not be a good fit for them, and then you may choose any other available options.

to be honest, we do feel upset reading this comment, and trying our best to reply calmly and reasonably to this post, we do feel that your approach in commenting to our page is unprofessional and quite spiteful, but we understand that people are entitled to their opinions, however misguided. thank you for your comment, we will not delete these comments, to be fair and to show that we are open to any feedbacks, but we will copy paste this and reply to all the comments that you have made, to ensure that everyone sees both sides.

As we are sharing this with our previous students, they actually support us, they actually express their understanding of our teaching techniques, and remind us what a good job we have been doing, and how much they (our students) have achieved since.
it has been quite heart warming to get feedbacks from our students to affirm us that we are doing is contributing and adding value to their lives. thank you (our students) on reminding us of this.

 

Identification

I was curious about who was this person that commented in such a demeaning manner, and what incited to them to express themselves in such a negative way. so I tried to check on their profile, but found out it was a fake account possibly to just comment on our facebook page. I have to acknowledge this person’s tenacity to actually create a fake account, and to comment a long post, and to copy paste it to more than 40 of our posts.

My head has been wildly speculating on the identity of this troll.

  • could it be the lifeguards that we annoyed by complaining about the closing times?
  • could it be the other swimming instructors, jealous of our success in getting new students every month, and charging a higher fee and thus earning more than them, and so “stealing” their income.
  • Could it be a previously unsatisfied student? a possibility that I cannot honestly accept, as most of my students seem to be satisfied by our classes, being able to do things they were never able to do in the first place.

But looking at the comments, it doesn’t look like they understand our technique and purpose. Especially about the resistance and short glide, as the first things that we teach our students is to reduce resistance, and do long glides, we revise this every lesson, and remind the students repetitively.

This person seems to “know” the “perfect” technique, so most likely is an instructor.

My guess is this person is simply judging from either looking at the videos we posted or from observing from the pool itself. I admit some of the videos of students swimming are not the “perfect” technique, but it shows them completing a swim across the width or length of a pool. We try our best to teach efficiency and effectiveness. But we will take up effectiveness to efficiency every time. We would prefer to let the students be inefficient but get across the pool, than to try to be perfect before they can reach the end of the pool. We do not expect all our students to have a perfect technique, we will guide them to use the technique that they are comfortable with in order to be able to cross that pool.

One of my concern is that some of these comments are not accurate simply because of mistaken identity, they may be associating a different instructor with effortless swim.

These wild speculations had begun to cause suspicions to people around the pool. But I realized, it is a futile effort. There is currently no way of identifying this person, so It is better to believe that none of these people are suspects or else my brain is just going to get haywire as this person’s. Thinking badly of other people. Not my style. Although…

Funny things about the troll

a swimming student of mine pinpointed a few interestingly funny facts that I would love to share here as well.

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This troll is “friendless”.

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This troll has no visible experience or history. They have “nothing to show”.

 

Personal Opinion

I am blessed to be smart, generous and kind. And in addition, I have been trained in education, counselling and self-development. I understand trolls appear out of nowhere. It is not that they hate a particular person, item or idea, but they may hate a lot of other things as well. It is not us, it is them.

I do not belittle any other instructors, what they teach is how they teach, their technique is their technique. Our general goal is the same, to get our students to swim. The approach or the specific goal/objectives is different. Some focus on competitive swimming, we focus on being able to swim for leisure and recreation.

I actually even give the contact numbers of other instructors that are friendly to me, to people who we cannot cater. For example, those who ask for swimming lessons outside our available schedule, or for kids (we prefer not to teach kids, different skill sets and motivation), or to those who want the competitive edge.

I am aware great people are liable to get scrutinized, to be judged, and even harassed. So I thank this troll to confirm that we have reached that level of success.

For the benefit of anyone else who may have experience trolls like this, I recommend to watch a few YouTube videos that explain and outline the science of trolls.

In general,

  • trolls like to troll because they enjoy trolling,
  • they often don’t hate anything for specific or personal reasons, they hate anything in general,
  • they are often sadistic, which means they enjoy inflicting pain upon others
  • Do not feed the trolls, ignore them and they may fade away. But if necessary, point out inconsistencies in their points.

The troll commented on a significant amount of posts, and contained several inaccuracies, so I decided that they really wanted a response. Not sure what type of response, but I gave mine, and interestingly so did a few students.

Silver Lining

In all this virtual commotion, we shared with some of our previous students, and it was heartwarming to know that the students didn’t share or agree with the troll. Some gave motivational replies, and others even replied to the troll in our defense (we did not ask them to do so). Despite the frustration this troll has caused us temporarily, It has been our students’ satisfaction, loyalty, and support that gives me relief, hope and joy.

😂😍

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