MuckRock Release Notes: Easier collaboration on Assignments and more

MuckRock Release Notes: Easier collaboration on Assignments and more

Come help hack on MuckRock and make FOIA better

Edited by JPat Brown

Last week, we made it easier to get started with an Organization account, easier to collaborate on Assignments, and added back a useful API endpoint. Read about the improvements and how you can help make MuckRock even better.

For previous site improvements, check out all of MuckRock’s release notes, and if you’d like to get a list of site improvements every Tuesday - along with ways to help contribute to the site’s development yourself - subscribe to our developer newsletter at the top or bottom of this page.

What’s new on MuckRock

Easier collaboration on Assignments

It’s now easier to explore incoming Assignment data with a team. If you associate an Assignment with a Project, you can now give other members of that Project the ability to manage it right from the Assignment creation page, meaning that they can also view incoming submissions. We’re spending the next few months rethinking permissions on a variety of aspects of the site, but we plan to make Projects a more powerful tool for permission management and this is a first step in that direction. If you have an existing Assignment you’d like help sharing permissions on, just email us at and we can get permissions shared.

Access the date a request was submitted via API

When we re-did our composer, we refactored a lot of things on the backend. This meant that the API endpoint to see when a request was created disappeared - it’s re-added. Nobody complained when the end point was missing, but now that it’s back we hope it finds some good usage. Read all about our API here, and if you have a wish list for future enhancements let us know!

Improved dev environment

We’ve tweaked our dev environment to have some better default pages so that if you get it up and running locally, there’s fewer weird 404s. Read about running MuckRock locally here, and let us know if you’re able to get things running locally.

Organization owners now part of an Organization by default

A roughly 50/50 split of Organizations end up having the Organization owner needing to actually file requests vs. just administering the account. We’ve gone back and forth on including an Organization account owner in the list of users who can file, but now we’re adding the owner back into the Organization by default (meaning that if you have three “user” slots, one is used by default). If you just need to administer the account and don’t need to file, an Organization owner can easily remove themselves and free up that seat for someone else from the Organization page.

Come hack on MuckRock

We have a growing group of volunteer hackers helping to make MuckRock better every day. We want to make it easier to contribute, so we’re launching a new project and weekly newsletter, “Release Notes.” Register to get a summary of site updates each week, a list of issues you can help with, and details about our Code for Boston meetups.

If you subscribe to the weekly newsletter, we’ll include exclusive data sets, FOIA-related scripts, and other transparency hacker tidbits exclusively for subscribers. You can also subscribe to to the newsletter at the top or bottom of this page.

If you want to contribute better FOIA tools for thousands of requesters, there’s a number of ways to help. If you find a bug you can email us directly or open an issue on GitHub.

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, in addition to the new newsletter, we have a developer channel on the MuckRock Slack. You can also join us at 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 or check the newsletter. We will be at tomorrow’s meetup.

Image via Wikimedia Commons