1. This is what Beta means: the first 48 hours of petitions

    Since the petition system went out properly on Wednesday, we’ve been absolutely buried in an avalanche of changes, fixes, feature additions and massive massive amounts of email. I thought that you might be interested as to what sort of stuff has happened in the first two days:

    • Email has taken over our lives. Matthew has responded to over 200 emails since yesterday morning, and I was up at 4am last night just trying to cope with the rate of incoming of mail. Francis, who’s now in Canada, then heroically took up the baton and responded to mail all (UK) night! Many if not most of these mails are giving us suggestions, as well as bug reports, problems with email and bits of praise and the odd conspiracy theory.
    • Changes made to cope with expats and overseas military personnel.
    • Phoned Hotmail to stop their system from eating 95% of the confirmation messages being sent to Hotmail accounts!
    • Redesigned the automated mails no10 get telling them there’s a new petition (they’ve had over 500 of these mails, so they need to be clear and easy to read!)
    • Made the rejected petitions system more granular, so that if a petition has to be rejected, and part of it has to be hidden (say, if it is libellous), then it only hides that bit, not the whole thing. Maximum transparency is the goal, you see.
    • New options added to sort the list of all petitions in different ways, by number of signatures being the most asked for.
    • Limited the length of “more info” fields so people can only write long rants, rather than really really long rants 🙂
    • Special cased people with AOL accounts, so that their, erm, nonstandard email clients can actually cope with the confirmation links.
    • Made several fixes to the processes involved in sending out confirmation mails.
    • Made RSS changes and improvements.
    • Updated various bits of text, like providing examples of what “party political” means. The BBC initially wrote that this meant no pledges mentioning controversial issues like Iraq, which was grabbing quite the wrong end of the stick about the nature of the rules. Now we have some complaining emails saying we’re being too liberal!
    • Compiled a big list of user suggestions and fixes on the wiki.
    • Made the rejection criteria in the Ts&Cs actually match the ones in the admin interface.
    • Installed a stats packages to watch what’s going on.
    • Added facility to search petitions
    • Improved/fixed logging
    • Added link and text pointing to the open source code.

    I’ve probably missed some – I’m sure Matthew, Chris, Francis and Ben will let me know!

  2. YCML work

    Today, I have been working on YourConstituencyMailingList (which will thankfully not be its final title, I keep spelling Constituency wrong myself 🙂 ). The database now has knowledge of which member of a YCML is the MP, and records comments made by that person, so that they can appear differently in the thread of comments. Also comment email alerts for when new comments are posted to a particular message; I guess I should add RSS feeds of comments, messages, and so on too. A Welsh translation of PledgeBank is coming along nicely, hope to have that up as soon as it’s ready.

  3. Trinity

    Slightly late; I was “hassle”d yesterday, but was at my school’s 21st anniversary, with Terry Waite, some other past students, all the current students, teachers past and present, and a lot of balloons. So I’ve been working some of today instead, which worked out quite well, as it was beautifully sunny yesterday and pouring with rain today.

    I fixed a number of bugs in various places, including one that meant all pledges would expire a day early and various problems with the reporting abuse process. I also renamed NotApathetic’s “best of” page to “busiest”, as they’re not the same thing. 😉 The PledgeBank RSS feed of new pledges will hopefully be available from the live site soon (I’ve added the HTML to make the little orange icon appear in Firefox) – if you can’t wait until then.

    I think Tom wants me to work next on user-defined flyers, which will involve adding to the poster generation code all the code we removed when we moved from using text in the POST to fetching it from the database. 🙂 Not sure of the details involved, so await direction. Looks like it might involve learning RTF generation in Python, though; hope that’s possible…

  4. RSS feeds

    Reading this via the RSS feed? There are now separate feeds for the new Developers blog, and for the News blog. Go to the links at the bottom of each blog’s page to find them. The original RSS feed URLs contain postings from both blogs.