Ever notice a typo in an Assignments question? Get some feedback from folks helping you crowdsource analysis and wish you could incorporate it right away? You finally can: Assignment questions are now fully editable with lots of backups in place.
Plus, come join us Tuesday in Boston for Demo Night!
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.
One thing we really wanted to avoid when building our Assignments system was accidental data loss. As a result, once you an Assignment was open and running, we didn’t have any good ways to let you edit it easily, whether you wanted to change the wording on a question, remove or add a question, or otherwise tweak it once things were live.
But we also know being able to edit a crowdsourced project is essential as you start to get participant feedback. We’re excited to formally roll out editing of Assignments, which has a couple of features designed to make it easy to keep your data nice and tidy:
- Every time you edit an Assignment, we take the precautionary step of exporting all your existing Assignments data and emailing it to you as a CSV so that nothing is accidentally wiped.
- If you add a new question to an Assignment, existing responses will just be blank for that question.
- If you delete a question from an Assignment, new submissions will be blank for that question, but old responses will retain the data and the field will be marked as deleted.
- If you rename a question, all the old data will remain in that column.
- Re-ordering works.
While making these changes, we noticed that some questions asked the user to manually put in slugs. That seemed like some unnecessary busy work for humans that our computers were happy to do, so we removed the slug option for those questions types, and now it’s easier than ever to get started with Assignments.
Demo Night is Tuesday night!
Since last March, we’ve been working on a new project with a group of volunteers that meets every Tuesday. This Tuesday, we’re going to publicly demo GovLens for the first time at the Code for Boston Demo Night. The event is free (and includes a light dinner!) but RSVPs are required. Please note that this event will replace the usual Tuesday night volunteer meeting.
Come hack transparency with us
Almost every Tuesday night (aforementioned exception aside), we gather in Cambridge with a group of coders, designers, and others who want to see more open government. Over the past few months, we’ve been mixing MuckRock’s agency database with a set of scanners and scrapers to help gauge the accessibility, mobile-friendliness, and security of America’s digital infrastructure.
You can find out more and join us by checking out Code for Boston’s website. The meetups are done for the year, but we’re looking forward to expanding on this work in some really cool ways in 2020! Sign up now to join us.
Give feedback, get updates
There are a number of other ways to help us continue to improve the core MuckRock site experience.
Newsletter: We have a project and a weekly newsletter, “Release Notes,” that highlights everything we’re working on. Register to get a summary of site updates each week and details on open issues that need your help.
Subscribers to the weekly newsletter get exclusive data sets, FOIA-related scripts, and other transparency hacker tidbits only available for subscribers. You can subscribe to the newsletter at the top or bottom of this page.
Slack: In addition to the newsletter, we have a developer channel on the MuckRock Slack.
If you spot a bug or have a feature request, you can also help by opening an issue on GitHub.
If you do, 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.
Image via Wikimedia Commons