MuckRock Release Notes: Show off crowdsourced submissions, experimental private crowdsourcing, and more Assignments upgrades

MuckRock Release Notes: Show off crowdsourced submissions, experimental private crowdsourcing, and more Assignments upgrades

Come hack MuckRock with us on Slack and at Code for Boston

Edited by JPat Brown

Last week, we had a number of smaller bug fixes plus a bunch of improvements and new features for the Assignments tool. Read all about them and find ways to contribute code, design, and other skills to 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 here.

What’s new on MuckRock

Embed the most interesting Assignments into a gallery

It was really incredible to see the huge response to our crowdsourced look at #RummysSnowflakes; we wanted to make it easier to highlight submissions for these kinds of projects. Now, when you’re setting up an Assignment, you can select if certain questions should be sent to a gallery; then, as interesting submissions come in, the Assignments editor can quickly highlight the most interesting ones for other readers to see via an IFRAME or via JSON.

This is a very early draft of the Assignments gallery idea, but we’re excited to make Assignments more interactive and let participants see interesting submissions as they come in. We’ll continue tweaking and adjusting this feature going forward, so we’d love your feedback. Thanks goes to our friends at the Coral Project for the inspiration with their own Gallery feature on their Ask tool, as well as helpful feedback during the development process of our new feature.

Tag Assignment responses

You can now tag Assignment submissions as they come in, making it easy to keep things organized for later analysis.

View related documents or other data next to Assignment submission

We wanted to make it easier to review and double check Assignment submissions, so now you can show documents right next to the entries that were submitted about them. 
### Experimental: Private Assignments with DocumentCloud

We’ve been working closely with our partners at DocumentCloud to come up with a secure way to let teams collaborate on crowdsourcing documents internally. This is useful if you have a bunch of documents you’re not quite ready to publish, but you want to distribute the work of going through them or typing up information about them. We’re working on streamlining the process, but if you’re interested in trialing this feature get in touch and we’d love to walk you through it.

Improved Assignment export

When you export Assignment results as a CSV, it now includes additional fields, such as whether a given submission was flagged, whether it was marked to be included in the gallery, and any tags that are associated with it.

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.

Plus, if you subscribe to the weekly newsletter, we’ll include exclusive data sets, FOIA-related scripts, and other transparency hacker tidbits exclusively for subscribers. 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