MuckRock Release Notes: Better filters, less buggy donations, and improved exporting

MuckRock Release Notes: Better filters, less buggy donations, and improved exporting

Join us January 23rd at Code for Boston to keep making MuckRock better

Edited by JPat Brown

Last week we launched a number of improvements to features across the site, plus more work to make it easier to contribute by booting up MuckRock locally.

For previous site improvements, check out all of MuckRock’s release notes.

What’s new on MuckRock

Filter to see all requests filed in a state, even at the local level

Until now, you could filter to see all requests filed at the state level in a given state, but not all requests at the local level in a given state. Now you can! This is particularly handy for analysis if you also use our CSV export tool, which has also been updated.

Additional fields for CSV export

We’ve gotten great feedback on the CSV export tool we launched last month. We’ve added two new fields to the export:

  • An indication of whether the request is state, local, or federal, for easier sorting and filtering.
  • A state column. Previously, we only included the city’s name for local requests which made analyzing exported local data very challenging.

Faster organization pages

Organization pages made a lot of calls, which slowed down the process of adding new members and a few other tasks. They’re much zippier now. Not an Organization user? Check out what you’re missing on our accounts overview page.

Quashing various donation bugs

  • If you were logged out and made a donation, we sent you two receipts even though we only billed you once. This is now fixed.
  • A number of people were understandably confused by whether they were giving a monthly or one-off donation, and accidentally signed up for a monthly donation when they meant to donate one time. We’ve changed donation default to be one-time donation and are working on a clearer design and better receipts.
  • Occasionally the crowdfund widget would put supporters names in white on top of a white background, which made them illegible. We’re not sure how that happened, but it’s fixed.

Tightened permissions

We went through and tightened up permissions settings and other access controls as part of semi-regular refresh to keep your data secure and prevent either malicious or accidental damage to the site.

Improved local installation process

We retooled some of the provisioning steps and processes to make it easier to get MuckRock up and running locally. Try it out if you’re comfortable with Vagrant, VirtualBox, and Django, and let us know how it goes!

Help build a better MuckRock

MuckRock and FOIA Machine are open source. That means anyone can freely inspect, modify, and reuse our code, and it also means you can help us continue to improve the sites (they’re actually built on the same codebase!). 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 previously, please leave an additional comment letting us know it’s an issue for you, particularly if you can provide more details about when it crops up or what you think is causing the problem.

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. We will be at tomorrow’s event, barring any last-minute emergencies.

Image via Wikimedia Commons