1. We’ll send you an email every time your chosen word is mentioned in Parliament

    Little Bells by LorenzoclickParliament is back in session – that means that TheyWorkForYou.com will be filling up with lots of new content as our representatives come back to work and start on the rounds of debates, committees, and written answers.

    How do you keep up with the stuff that’s relevant to you? Well, you could read it all, every day – or you could be smart, and set up a topic alert.

    Receive an alert every time your chosen word or phrase is mentioned

    If you’re interested in a specific topic, and you’d like to receive an email every time someone mentions it in Parliament, follow these steps.

    1. Search for your chosen topic

    Let’s say you’re particularly interested in badger culling, and you’d like to receive an alert every time the word ‘badger’ is mentioned in Parliament.

    i) Enter your search term on the homepage:

    twfy-search-topic

    Tip: If your chosen search term has more than one word, you may find it useful to put it inside quotation marks – otherwise you will receive alerts every time both words are mentioned, even if they are not mentioned adjacently.

    ii) Click ‘search’, and you will be taken to a page of search results for your term:

    Search results on TheyWorkForYou

    TheyWorkForYou uses ‘stemming’ – so these results contain mentions of words such as ‘badgers’ and ‘badgering’: again, if I want to only receive mentions of the word badger, and none of its derivatives, I should put the word in quotation marks.

    iii) Click on the large blue link to the right of the page: “Subscribe to an email alert for [your search term]”.

    iv) If you are logged in to the site, that’s it – you’ve subscribed, and you don’t need to do anything more.

    If you are not logged in, don’t worry. You don’t need an account in order to sign up for alerts.

    Input your email address, and click on the ‘subscribe’ button (NB not the ‘search’ button, but the higher up button marked ‘subscribe’):

    twfy-email-subscribe

    We’ll send you a confirmation email.

    Confirm alert by email on TheyWorkForYou

    Click on the link in the email, and there you go – you’re subscribed.

    You can sign up for as many alerts as you like: if you are interested in many topics, it is probably worth registering, as you then do not have to go to the bother of inputting your email address and clicking the confirmation link for each one.

    In our next post, we will look at how to manage your alerts, and common mistakes that can be made setting them up.

    Prefer to receive alerts every time a specified MP speaks? See our previous post.


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    Image: Lorenzoclick (CC)

  2. A guide to Alaveteli


    Arrow by Arjecahn

    Image by Arjecahn

    We’ve put together a simple guide to Getting Started with Alaveteli. It consists of just seven steps.

    At step one, your Freedom of Information website is nothing but a dream. By step seven, you’ll be the proud owner of your very own version, providing a valuable service for your country’s citizens!

    What is Alaveteli?

    Alaveteli is our platform that allows anyone to run their own Freedom of Information website – like WhatDoTheyKnow.com, but tailored to your own country’s Right To Information system.

    If you’re considering setting up your own site, it’s inevitable that you’ll have all sorts of questions. We want to be with you every step of the way, to answer all your questions and offer help where you need it.

    We’ve made Alaveteli as simple as possible, because we want anyone to be able to use it, without needing much technical knowledge.

    So our guide is for everyone, including people who have never before launched their own website (if you have bags of experience, you should read it too – it’s still useful!)

    It answers pressing questions like:

    • How long does it take to create an Alaveteli site?
    • How many people do I need to help me, and how do I find them?
    • What technical skills are needed?
    • How do I get the site translated into my own language?
    • Should I launch with a big bang?
    • How many hours a week will I be dedicating to the site, once it’s live?

    If you want to know the answers to those questions, go and read it! And if you still have questions, please let us know. We’ll add more detail as it’s asked for.

    If you’re technically confident, you should also head to our Alaveteli developers’ guide. Plus you will want to sign up to our Alaveteli mailing list, where you can discuss all things Alaveteli, and get advice, support and the answers to all your questions.

  3. Read our Guide to Getting FixMyStreet in your City, Country or Region

    FixMyStreet.com is mySociety’s popular British site for reporting problems like broken street lights and holes in the road. It works because as well as recording reports online, it sends copies to the relevent local governments. It has inspired many ‘grandchildren’ around the world.

    Today marks the start of a new era for FixMyStreet as we push out the start of a major design upgrade in Britain, aimed particularly at making the mobile web experience as good as the desktop web experience.

    Simultaneously, we’re also launching a guide to using the FixMyStreet Platform as the basis for your website in other countries.

    • We’ve set up a new homepage for the FixMyStreet Platform.
    • We’ve set up a new mailing list which you can join if you want to talk with us and with other users.
    • We’ve published a brand new guide, suitable for technical and non-technical readers, about how and why you should consider using the FixMyStreet Platform to build your FixMyStreet-style website

    We’re also here, waiting and ready to give you a hand. So if you’ve ever thought about setting up FixMyStreet outside Britain, there’s no better time to start than today.