Now that the quieter months are upon us, we can take some time to make some general answers to some queries sent to us from a few Swirled News readers recently, so here we go...
Why hasn't Swirled News been updated recently?
Basically, real-life impinged itself on things in a big way recently, with your beloved Swirled News editor Andy Thomas suffering from ill-health due to kidney problems, resulting in a spell in hospital! Things are back on the mend now and we hope to resume service as soon as possible. Consequently, we have a large backlog of material, some of which will now be a bit out of date, but there you go. If you contributed something for publication in Feedback and are wondering where it went, please have patience. As soon as we can we'll get everything uploaded.
The sheer workload of the heightened crop circle interest from the media this year resulted in us dealing with barrages of e-mail and correspondence: that interspersed with the pressures of whatever normal life was left and then the aforementioned poor health, meant that in general the site wasn't as updated as often as we would have liked this summer.
Now that the quiet season is upon us, naturally there won't be much news around for a while anyway, so updates will be inevitably be fewer, but we won't desert you! That said, next summer, readers should expect the site to be updated perhaps only every two or three weeks or so as a matter of course - a new pace of life is required at this end, for self-preservation! However, rest assured that any BIG breaking news will be covered immediately.
We hope you will all continue to appreciate the quality of our coverage, if not the speed. Indeed, we would like to thank the many of you who have expressed your gratitude for our work, which, remember, is free and provided on an entirely voluntary basis. This year Swirled News has covered many stories and featured, with depth and honesty, much information often unreported elsewhere on the Net. We will continue to provide this service!
If you are a Swirled News reader not on our Update e mailing list, we would encourage you to join this useful and free benefit - that way you will know immediately when new stories are up on the site. All you have to do is click on the Mailing List icon on our main page.
Why did Swirled News go offline for a few days recently?
We switched to a new server. The changeover took us offline longer than we were expecting, hence we hadn't thought to warn anyone! All is back on as normal now.
(In an odd quirk, there were a few occasions this summer where our database system locked some people out for a while, due to the sheer weight of readers trying to access the same pages at the same time! So if you got the message "database storage exceeded", that's what was going on. Should it ever happen again, just try again later.)
Why hasn't my personal query been answered yet?
Noting our comments above about us being normal (?!) people voluntarily providing a free website, please remember that we are NOT a personal information service. Technically, we state that we do not enter into personal correspondence unless initiated by us. Whilst we would like to be able to help you with your personal enquiries, it just isn't possible to keep up with it all. Our apologies for this, but we receive hundreds of e-mails each week and it is sometimes difficult to answer each one individually.
We try to help those in need if the occasion requires it, but we would appreciate it if personal enquiries could be kept to a minimum and must please ask that readers refrain from making unreasonable requests. These include continual enquiries for information on crop circle locations and how to find them (a very common one - we are not a new crop circle reporting site, though there are other sites we link to that will sometimes provide these details), which newspapers reported what recently, where this or that person's research can be found, where T-shirts can be bought, etc. Some are even along the lines of "I need all your collected information, slides, samples and databases on crop circles from 1993. Give them to me", which not only is impossible, but rather presumptuous!
For many things, browsing through our Links sections will bring you to a site that will have information on what you need.
If you have a general enquiry that you think everyone would benefit from having answered, please submit it as an entry to our Feedback pages.
Why are we wary of opening attachments?
We'll repeat here our recent advice! Please do NOT send us e-mails with attachments without advising us of their arrival and describing their title and contents in advance. We now operate a policy of deleting any messages sent to us with attachments we are unsure about.
We have had to bring in this rather draconian rule because of the huge amounts of computer viruses doing the rounds at the moment - nearly every day we receive at least ten uncertain e-mails with attachments. All of them are binned, because many of them are indeed harmful viruses and we can't take chances.
You all owe it to yourselves to have an active and constantly updated virus-checker on your computer. Remember that viruses sometimes appear to have come from people that did not actually send them (a feature of some viruses is that they e-mail out on the back of random addresses from an address book), so it is sometimes hard to know their original origin. Our system is constantly monitored by Norton Anti-virus and we recommend you use a similar program.
Hope these answers help put you in the picture! We hope to update Swirled News properly again within a couple of weeks. Thanks for your patience.