Release Notes: Reminder to join our upcoming demo night in Boston

Release Notes: Reminder to join our upcoming demo night in Boston

Come hack transparency with MuckRock!

Edited by Beryl Lipton

Last week, we added notifications about donation cancellations for users without accounts, improved our error handling, and started working on our December demo night in Boston.

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

Email alerts when anonymous recurring donations fail

As a non-profit, MuckRock relies on donations from users, and users can donate either one time or monthly (even better: all donations are currently doubled thanks to NewsMatch!).

As we poked at the code, we noticed a bug. Previously, if you donated to MuckRock without creating an account and your card failed, we did not notify you about the problem. We have now created an alert to let you know that your card is no longer working and tell you how to update it.

Improved error handling

We added a number of improvements to our site error handling so that we’re better able to identify problems as they occur, including problems with donations cancelling, assorted crowdfunding errors, user login problems, and more.

Come check out our demo night

On Dec. 17, we’re joining other Code for Boston projects to demo what we’ve been working on Tuesday nights. In our case, it’s GovLens, our automated government website checker. It evaluates agencies around the country on security, accessibility, and other key metrics, and it provides easy to understand explanations for both policy makers and the public. Registration is free, so if you’re in the Boston area, we’d love to see you!

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. 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.

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.

Github: Check out some of our issues labeled “help wanted” for ideas on good places to start or just pop into our Slack’s #Developers channel.

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