Meme-be you are the Problem

By Alan Cale

When I started technical diving, one of my coworkers warned me about the egos involved.  I was regaled with tales of cave diving drama, elitist attitudes, and ripping each other apart for different schools of thought regarding gear configuration.  I have to say…he wasn’t wrong.

Look…I get it, I’m in the Facebook Group, Anarchy Scuba, too.  It can be a blast to poke fun at anyone and everyone.  My chosen media is memes, and even my own bosses are not safe from them. 

I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t see a new diver being torn apart on social media.  More and more, I see phrases like “new diver be gentle” on a post asking for advice.  Spoiler alert: the vast majority of comments are not gentle.

Why is that?

Does it make you feel better?  Does it make you feel like you are superior to them because you have more experience and training?  Was your trim flawless when you started diving? Or did you deploy a DSMB perfectly on your first attempt?  If so, congratulations! 

I can honestly answer that my trim was atrocious and the best part about my first DSMB deployment from 

depth was that I got it out of my pocket.  Take an honest look at your training and ask yourself if your performance has been so perfect along the way that you wouldn’t get torn apart if photos or videos from those moments were posted online.  Even now that I consider myself an experienced diver, sometimes a picture gets taken of me that I don’t consider representative of how I normally dive.

I’m thankful that the mistakes I made along the way were not blasted to the far ends of the earth seconds after they happened.  I’m thankful my first online friend (pictured left) didn’t tear me apart for my poor choices in decorating my online profile, and I’m more thankful that page hasn’t seen the light of day like Tom Hardy’s did, (you can Google it).  I’m personally thankful that I grew up before social media took off and my entire life was shared online. 

So what do we do?

We should be like Brian (don’t fire me).  But for real, we should be helping these new divers.  Rather than “your trim looks like $#!t” try “Hey, you should try adjusting your wing and you might feel more comfortable.”  Or instead of “Wow, if I deployed a DSMB that poorly, I’d quit diving” try “Hey, I noticed you struggled with this, I did too when I started. Try this next time…”

Reading some of your comments, I can tell you that those divers you just tore apart are probably never going to ask for help again, nor ever want to share their experiences diving.  What if the next thing they would have asked is something we as experienced divers could have helped them fix, but instead they kept it to themselves and something happened to them? 

Me personally, I’ve got thick skin and enjoy trolling some of you.  It’s just so easy to get you all fired up sometimes, and I know I’m not the only one doing it.

I will say that those of you I have met in person tend to be much nicer and are more helpful, having more mentor-like attitudes. So why are you not following the same ideals with divers in the digital world?  My advice…well, I’ll let The Dude sum it up for me.

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5 replies
  1. Andrew williams
    Andrew williams says:

    I see and hear so many divers from different clubs putting some people down but not thinking what or how they say to them .
    As a dive professional and learning to become an instructor its vital that we give constructive criticism in a professional manner.
    I hope all new divers will learn from mistakes as I have through out my diving journey.
    But along my journey I’ve had some good friends along the way.

  2. Scott Stefano
    Scott Stefano says:

    Very good article. I am by no means the best or most experienced diver. I have been at it a while and I am proud of my credentials. I love helping students experience that first breath underwater. Nothing like it. That’s why I have been doing that since 1993. The vitriol online and in FB groups has me very infrequently visiting those areas for precisely the points in your post. Thanks for bringing it to light…hopefully each of us can make a small step toward improving new divers experiences and building community that we as seasoned divers already enjoy!

  3. Rob
    Rob says:

    I would just like to say I treat all divers like a buddy “my life depends on them or their life depends on me” you never know when you need a buddy and I would like to think most fellow divers would be helpful!!
    True that we all started diving and it took time to get the skills we have. I am always improving my skills and enjoy when I learn how to do something easier or new!!

  4. Jon
    Jon says:


    Thank you for the poignant points; they are mantras that we should all be diving/living by.

    However, at 3:30 in the morning, as I type this, the visual cues (and the subtle ribbing) in your article are why I choose to associate with scuba divers – we are a fun, but serious, bunch. Thank you for the early morning laugh.



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