Release Notes: First version of the FOIA-a-matic tool and a chance to share your request ideas

Release Notes: First version of the FOIA-a-matic tool and a chance to share your request ideas

Come join us on Slack or in person tomorrow!

Edited by JPat Brown

Last week, our Code for Boston team hacked together some more designs and early prototypes for our Sunshine Week FOIA suggestion project. Stop by Tuesday evening or online to get an early preview and help out!

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.

Site updates

Progress on our Sunshine Week FOIA inspiration project

Last week at Code for Boston, work continued on building a site that showcases the best FOIA suggestions and public records request ideas we’ve seen over the years.

We explored a variety of design ideas to help people quickly get a sense of the wide variety of ways public records could help people explore government and their communities.

And over the weekend, Elliot got a first working, very minimal iteration of the site up and running locally 🎉🎉🎉:

First live version of the site

The Flask app pulls approved suggestions directly from the MuckRock Assignment submissions to power the site, so please submit your FOIA ideas.

If you’re interested in contributing, we’ll be meeting tomorrow at 7 p.m. with Code for Boston to continue working on the various components of the special Sunshine Week project. The base site is built in Flask, but we’re also looking designers and non-technical contributions.

Come hack on MuckRock

Speaking of contributing, there’s a number of ways to help us continue to improve the core MuckRock site experience. 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 you can help with.

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.

Image via Wikimedia Commons