MuckRock Release Notes: Improved appeal tool and better jurisdiction sorting

MuckRock Release Notes: Improved appeal tool and better jurisdiction sorting

Whether by hacking on the code base or helping identify bugs, here’s how you can help us continue to improve the service

Edited by JPat Brown

This week, we’re kicking off a new feature highlighting recent changes and bug fixes to MuckRock and FOIA Machine, as well as letting you know how you can help us continue to improve the service, whether by hacking on the code base or helping identify bugs.

We’ll also highlight some older features and tweaks you might have missed.

Help hack MuckRock and FOIA Machine

First, how to contribute: MuckRock and FOIA Machine are open source, and open issues are all listed on GitHub. If you find a bug you can email us directly or open an issue. If you do the latter, please search open issues first to make sure it hasn’t already been reported. If it has been reported, please feel free to leave an additional comment letting us know it’s an issue for you, particularly if you can provide more details.

For those who want to contribute design, code, or otherwise more directly to the site, we have a developer channel on the MuckRock Slack. We’re also part of Code for Boston’s weekly hack nights, which take place Tuesday evenings in Kendall Square. We might not make it to every one of them, so if you want to meet up there it’s a good idea to check in on Slack first.

Finally, if you’ve got ideas for improving the service, we have a survey running through Tuesday evening up here. The feedback we’ve gotten so far has been super helpful in planning future development, and we’d love your ideas.

What’s new on MuckRock and FOIA Machine

And now for the latest pushes. Since this is the first one, we’ll go back a few weeks of interesting commits.

  • Show states before cities in autocomplete: In some autocomplete dropdown menus, particularly on FOIA Machine, jurisdictions were sorted first alphabetically and then by ID number. This was fine except in some instances where the number of cities named Washington crowded out the ability to pick Washington state. The state will now always show up at the top of the list, and you can drill down to other Washingtons by typing the state name after.
  • Improved onboarding email for crowdfunding campaigns: We put together some of our favorite tips and strategies for launching a crowdfunding campaign to help make it easier for you to hit your funding goals for requests and projects.
  • Appeal tool tweaks: We’ve been working on continuing to build out our database of exemption information and sample appeals, but it’s still been a bit hard for people to find. We tweaked the language and made it a little clearer what the appeal tool does. Anytime a request is rejected or in other cases where an appeal may be appropriate, you should see an appeal button. Click that, and in addition to the usual way to send in an appeal, you should see the appeal tool that lets you search our database or request help crafting a custom appeal: MuckRock’s new and improved appeal tool
  • Improvements to multirequest handling A lot of small, mostly backend changes to how we handle multirequests that should speed up processing and improve the process for if a multirequest is rejected for any reason.
  • Logged in users can now create organization accounts: Try it today by creating an organization account of your own. In addition, over the past few months we’ve added two features that are useful: In your settings, you can now automatically share all your requests with other members of your organization. You can also set up an email to CC all receipts to: MuckRock organization sharing features

Image via Wikimedia Commons