MuckRock Release Notes: New features for Assignments and a new developers newsletter

MuckRock Release Notes: New features for Assignments and a new developers newsletter

Help us keep building a better MuckRock

Edited by JPat Brown

Last week, we released a number of new tools to make Assignments more useful. We’re also launching a new newsletter to stay in the loop if you’re interested in contributing to MuckRock’s open source development or just want a heads up on interesting site developments and data sets.

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

Embedded Assignments

Kicking off our trio of new Assignment tweaks is something that was actually released a few weeks ago, but we wanted to make sure it (mostly) worked properly before announcing it. After you create an Assignment, there is now an “embed” code provided on the Assignment’s management page. You can embed an Assignment on any page that accepts IFRAMES. This is still a fairly experimental feature, particularly if you’re trying to crowdsource data on a set of documents, but we’re already successfully using this with the Sam Whitmore Media Survey Fellowship applications and it is working well, so we’re excited to get feedback as others use try it out.

Email Assignment responses

When you’re creating a new Assignment, you can now optionally have every submission emailed to you or another specified email address. This is great if you have an Assignment where you want an alert to follow up, or if you have an Assignment with very occasional contributions.

Removed list of data to be crowdsourced

Finally, the list of data included on the Assignment management page was not very useful and could take up a lot of screen real estate, so we’ve removed it, simplifying this page a lot.

Fixed newsletter registration bug

We had a few bugs pop up on newsletter registration that have now been quashed.

Join our new developer newsletter

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 weekly developer newsletter, currently dubbed “Open Commits.” Register and can a summary of site updates each week, a list of issues you can help with, and details about our Code for Boston meetups.

Plus, we’ll include exclusive data sets, FOIA-related scripts, and other transparency hacker tidbits exclusively for subscribers. Subscribe to our developer newsletter here.

Come hack on MuckRock

If you do want to contribute to helping build 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 not be at tomorrow’s meetup.

Image via Wikimedia Commons