Release Notes: New Assignment question type and sunsetting our data tool

Release Notes: New Assignment question type and sunsetting our data tool

Come hack transparency with us Tuesday evening

Edited by JPat Brown

Last week, we introduced a new question type for Assignments crowdsources: Checkbox groups, that allow you to offer a variety of choices and let users pick as many (or as few) options as they’d like. We also began deprecating an experimental database feature.

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

New Assignment question type: Checkbox group

A screenshot of a question type that allows Assignments users to pick multiple options from a list via a checkbox

If you’re creating an Assignment, sometimes you want to be able to let people more easily pick a few choices from multiple options. Now you can with the Checkbox group question type. It’s perfect for those cases where you want to ask readers to select all the criteria that apply. Read more about recent updates to the Assignments homepage, other recent improvements, and watch an introductory video about the tool embedded here:

Deprecated feature: Dataset hosting

A while ago we experimented with an embeddable way to host data sets and spreadsheets. If you clicked “Create data set” button an Assignment page, this was how that data was presented to you.

The user experience was never quite where we wanted it to be, and translating excel files into a standardized data frame was a larger task then we can currently undertake, so we’ve decided to sunset this feature and focus our efforts on other areas. Existing data sets will stay intact for now, but you can no longer create new datasets. We will delete existing data in roughly 90 days, but the underlying information will still available via the Assignment CSV export function.

Come hack transparency with us

Every Tuesday night, we gather in Cambridge with a group of coders, designers, and others who want to see more open government. 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.

Reporting bugs and submitting fixes

There are a number of other 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 the newsletter at the top or bottom of this page.

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.

In addition to the new newsletter, we have a developer channel on the MuckRock Slack.

Image via Wikimedia Commons