Release Notes: Better looking article images, more shareable request templates, and DocumentCloud improvements

Release Notes: Better looking article images, more shareable request templates, and DocumentCloud improvements

Edited by Michael Morisy

The tech team has been busy working on improvements to both our FOIA filing platform as well as DocumentCloud, our document analysis and hosting tool. For MuckRock, we gave a nice graphical bump to our article images — doubling the resolution — and fixed a bug that prevented sharing cloned request links with logged-out users. With DocumentCloud, the incorrectly labeled “rotate” button now does what it says on the tin. Plus: More localized versions coming soon!

For previous site improvements, check out all of MuckRock’s release notes.

Share your FOIA inspiration more easily with cloned requests

One of the key goals of MuckRock is to make it easier for requesters to build on each others’ work, so that’s why we’re excited that one specific bug is finally quashed.

Every public request on MuckRock has a big blue “Clone” button up top. Clicking it pre-fills out a request form with the original data and optionally an agency’s information, which is then tweaked and customized to the specific jurisdiction if another user updates the appropriate field. This makes it easy to help others see useful language or to quickly expand the scope and scale of an investigation that you’ve already started.

We love this example of data on bear intrusions in California by Julie Brown, for example, and you can check on bears in your own backyard from the clone link.

This feature was meant to work for everyone — MuckRock users and not-yet-MuckRock users alike — but a bug meant that those visiting the URL without being logged in got an error. That is now fixed.

Rotate your documents

DocumentCloud recently revamped its internationalization support, adding support for Spanish and French alongside English. Unfortunately, we had a copy and paste error when updating the label for the rotate button, so it mistakenly has said “Move” for the past few months. That’s now fixed so rotating documents to the correct orientation shouldn’t require additional guesswork!

That fix is courtesy of DocumentCloud’s new lead developer, Thad Kerosky!

Coming Soon: DocumentCloud in Arabic

Speaking of internationalization, we have a new Arabic translation of DocumentCloud’s interface coming soon, courtesy of user Naji Tamimi via our CrowdIn translation site. Contribute your language translations here and we’ll get them ported soon into DocumentCloud.

More DocumentCloud updates

  • DocumentCloud users must be verified as a journalist or other verified institutional affiliation to upload, but there was a prompt that showed up if a user started dragging a document onto the page that indicated otherwise. If a user’s upload button is correctly disabled because they’re not verified, now dragging a document into no longer incorrectly shows a highlight around the upload area.
  • Additionally, Django has been updated on Squarelet and DocumentCloud to the 3.2.9 version from an older version. This sets the groundwork for the development environment to work with new Chrome and Firefox browsers after those browsers made multi-site login cookie security improvements.

MuckRock is open source, and you can help us make it better

There are a number of OTHER ways to help us continue to improve the core MuckRock experience. We have a weekly newsletter that highlights everything we’re working on. Register to get a summary of site updates each week and details on ways you can contribute.

Right now, we’re particularly interested in hearing examples of clever DocumentCloud scripts, whether they help analyze, import, export, or otherwise do cool things with documents. Let us know, via email or on Twitter.

You can also pop into our Slack’s #Developers channel and say hello.

Image via Wikimedia Commons