Operational Questions

What's with all the "Edit" and "Add a…" buttons in the listings?
Why do the "Edit" and "Add a…" forms require me to include my name and email address? What do you do with them?
I completed an "Edit" form/filled out the "Add A Pool" questionnaire/wrote a pool review yesterday, and expected to see my change reflected in the listing in "real time" - but when I checked the site the change wasn’t there – why not?
How does the website work?


What's with all the "Edit" and "Add a…" buttons in the listings?

Swimmers Guide was one of the earliest sites on the Internet to encourage user feedback and participation. We know we don't always get everything right and a site like ours can get out of date quickly if it isn't properly and regularly maintained. There's only one site editor but there are thousands of site users. The "Edit" and "Add a…" buttons are there to allow the users to make corrections of errors, update information that has changed, and augment the information in the listings. This site works best when everyone who uses it pitches in to keep the information fresh. When you click on an Edit button, it opens a page that shows the data point you have chosen to edit, the information that's currently in that field, a space for you to propose a change to the data, a space for any additional comments you may have about the edit, and spaces for your name and email address. Complete the form and hit "Save" (or whatever option the form gives, other than "Cancel") and we'll be able to see what you've proposed to change.


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Why do the "Edit" and "Add a…" forms require me to include my name and email address? What do you do with them?

We ask for your name and email address for two reasons: The first is to enable us to ask a follow-up question if we don't fully understand what you've sent. The second is so we can let you know that we have received what you sent and acted on it, and to send you a link to the page reflecting the updated information. A lot of people are reluctant to give their names and email addresses to just any website and we completely understand - we often feel the same way when visiting others' sites. But we don't do SPAM and we haven't received any complaints about unsolicited email since "Day One" in 1996. We have a Privacy Policy in the About Us section of the site and we adhere to that policy.


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I completed an "Edit" form/filled out an "Add A Pool" questionnaire/wrote a pool review yesterday and expected to see my change reflected in the listing in "real time" - but when I checked the site the change wasn’t there – why not?

Ninety-nine percent- of the changes that are proposed for the listings are made in good faith, by good people who just want to be helpful. Unfortunately, there are the 1% (no, not that 1%) who think it's amusing to mess up other people's websites and try to make changes that are flat out wrong, sometimes offensive, and occasionally obscene. So we set up the forms in a way that changes have to be reviewed before they're posted to the live database. We review the edits and adds as fast as we can - usually within 24. But we take the occasional vacation or weekend off, so sometimes we're just not going to be able to give a one day turnaround. Please understand that every proposed entry we receive has to be checked. New listings have to be reviewed to be sure they meet the listing criteria and that the information is reasonably accurate. We'll run several Google searches to find out if the pool has an official website or if there are any clubs or teams that train there whose sites we can link to in the new listing. We'll try to double-check the address and telephone number, the admission policies and prices, and the pool description. It's not that we don't trust you, but your name doesn't go on the listing anywhere - ours does. We may also need to ask you a follow-up question or two. If the answer to the question is critical to the listing, that can hold things up. In any case, we’ll always reply to your submission to thank you and let you know if it has gone online. If you mistype your email address, however, you won’t receive a reply.


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How does the website work?

For the first 15 years of the site's existence, the database was kept in an Excel spreadsheet and periodically converted to an MS Access database to allow a Cold Fusion program to access the information and lay the pages out "on the fly". Initially, we limited database updates to once a month. After a while, we started doing it weekly. That took a lot of time to do and, if any of the information went bad on us (a link to a pool's official website, for example), we might receive eight or ten user reports - all well-intentioned and all requiring a response and "thank you". The process was complex and time that could be better spent on content was being wasted. In 2013, after more than a year of preparation, the entire database was reformatted in a SQL format and moved permanently to the server. This allowed us to start updating the listings in real time so that, once a change to a listing or the addition of a new listing is approved by the site editor, it goes "live" on the site, immediately. It's the next best thing to magic!



Most recently updated September, 2014.

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