MuckRock Release Notes: Streamlined support, upgraded export, fixed FAQs

MuckRock Release Notes: Streamlined support, upgraded export, fixed FAQs

Join us in continuing to make MuckRock better!

Edited by JPat Brown

Last week, we rolled out a big change on our backend, unifying how we handle support tickets. We also improved our data export tools for Professional and Organizational users, and fixed a bug when submitting requests to a bunch of new agencies (there were some errors when you included over 30 or so new agencies in a single request).

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

Unifying support

Over the past year, one of our biggest focuses has been on improving support and support times. If you’ve sent in recent queries, you’ve probably noticed some changes - “Get Help” now lets you pick a category of support ticket, and emailed queries now get a case number and flow through Zoho’s helpdesk software.

We’ve now unified all of our user support operations - including support for DocumentCloud and FOIA Machine - so that we can better manage and keep track of all support queries. The visible changes will be very subtle - you can now let us know how we’re doing when we respond to a request, and soon we hope to make it easier to check the status of your open issues as well as see a log of open issues you have - but we’re hoping the result will be faster, more comprehensive customer support across all of our services.

Improved CSV export of requests

Pro and Organizational users can take any search results and “Export as CSV.” As we’ve helped file more and more requests, occasionally this has led to some situations when the server hasn’t successfully completed the export job.

We’ve tweaked the export tool to be asynchronous, and now instead of making you wait while it works it emails you a link to the exported data to download at your convenience.

Lots of new agencies? No problem!

A user reported a bug last week noting that when they included a lot of new agencies (more than 30 or so) in a multirequest, the site ran into some issues. We redid how we generate new agencies so this is no longer an issue.

FAQ fixed

Big thanks to Benjamin Doran, who submitted a pull request fixing an issue with header links on the FAQ pages and a few other places dropping you down below a fix pixels where they were supposed to go. It should be easier to navigate around the site now!

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.

Check out some of our issues labeled “help wanted” for ideas on where’s good to start, or just pop into our Slack’s #Developers channel.

Subscribers to the weekly newsletter get exclusive data sets, FOIA-related scripts, and other transparency hacker tidbits exclusively for subscribers. You can 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.

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