MuckRock Release Notes: Help build a directory of FOIA ideas

MuckRock Release Notes: Help build a directory of FOIA ideas

For Sunshine Week, we’re building a database of FOIA ideas to inspire requesters around the country

Edited by JPat Brown

For Sunshine Week 2019, we’re working on building a database of the best FOIA suggestions to help showcase the power of transparency — and give requesters a little inspiration when they’re stuck for ideas. Join us next Tuesday in Boston or in the FOIA Slack.

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.

Join us next week to help brainstorm ways to showcase the power of FOIA

Next Tuesday we’ll be meeting at 7 p.m. with Code for Boston to plot out the various pieces of a Sunshine Week project we’re ramping up. We’re building a site that showcases the best FOIA suggestions and public records request ideas we’ve seen over the years, and you can help build it.

We’re looking for three key areas of assistance:

  • Designers, to help come up with a simple but effective way to showcase one FOIA suggestion at a time and put that idea into action.
  • Python developers that can tap our Assignments API to populate the above design with FOIA suggestions.
  • Researchers to help populate the database with interesting FOIA ideas and tips.

All are welcome to join — just check out Code for Boston for meetup details. If you can’t join us in person, we’ll be hosting a FOIA Slack Chat that day to discuss what we’re working on and share ways you can contribute at Noon Eastern. Sign up for the Slack here.

Please note that we will not be at tonight’s Code for Boston.

Come hack on MuckRock

Speaking of contributing, we have a growing group of volunteer hackers helping to make MuckRock’s suite of tools better every day. 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