Release Notes: Interested in running your own MuckRock or FOIA Machine? Let us know

Release Notes: Interested in running your own MuckRock or FOIA Machine? Let us know

MuckRock Foundation software is all open source, and we’d love others to build on it

Edited by Beryl Lipton

We’ve been getting inquiries from organizations interested in running their own version of MuckRock or FOIA Machine or in helping us update the feature sets of the sites to meet some specific needs. If you’re interested, please get in touch: We’d love to discuss ways to make that happen.

We’re also looking for volunteer maintainers to help port over some popular features on MuckRock into FOIA Machine. We keep the site updated and running, but we are interested in continuing to build it out if there’s interest.

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.

Development partnerships

For tens of thousands of users, MuckRock is a great fit — we help automate as much of the process as we can, letting reporters, researchers, and others focus on the work they need to get done.

But some organizations have different needs, ranging from security, privacy, and cost. For them, using FOIA Machine or running it internally can be a good fit. We’ve had a number of newsrooms reach out interested in helping us continue development of the site, and we have some exciting ideas but, currently, not the bandwidth to tackle them.

If you’d be interested in contributing financially or through donating time coding, get in touch — we’d love to hear your ideas and talk through how we’ve been thinking of the longer term road map. The FOIA Machine codebase is the same as MuckRock’s, so you can check it out on GitHub.

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 good to starting points 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