Website Update Announcements

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Book to hold important technical announcements about Praja website itself. These announcements could be about new feature releases, retiring some features, or to announcements to gather user feedback on technical aspects of the website.

Users should leave comments on relevant posts in this book to interact with technical team. "Contact" feature is another tool available to users for providing technical feedback.

Calling all - website upgrade coming, need your help

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Praja related

This website is our primary tool for interaction, coordination, and attracting new members. We have been lucky enough to get attention and grow, however the site may not have kept pace. Based on your feedback, we are on to a revamp. The things we have heard fall in these main categories

  1. Lots of content, hard to find and track them
  2. Site is getting slower
  3. Unfriendly for new visitors - they don't know how to signup,  find posts, problems logging in etc
  4. Need more tools for member-member interaction. Private Messages are not enough.

So we are starting on a project to address these issues over next few weeks. Towards that, we will appreciate some help from members. No, no, we aren't asking folks to come and code, not yet :) As of now, we need help in following forms:

  • Report problems you know (in categories mentioned above)
  • Help out with testing the new website (we have a separate testng-only website)
  • Suggest how you want the pages (frontpage, post pages) to be structured or layed out.

You can leave comments here, or simply send private message or email to "admin".

 

Moderation launched on Praja

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Praja related

We had recently solicited ideas for introducing moderation on Praja for Posts and Comments. We thought it was essential to have a moderation system to retain the no-nonsense flavour of Praja as we grow. We are thankful to all those who responded and are happy to announce the launch of moderation system on Praja.

There are four facets to moderation on Praja.

  1. To remove content that is deemed to be unfit for publishing on Praja by its members. This include posts that contain spam, hate speech, rumours etc.
  2. To 'review' posts for their links, tagging, formatting and other cosmetic/functional aspects.
  3. To make top quality content more easily accessible to users
  4. To provide a way for all users to bring objectionably content to admins' notice


Principles of moderation on Praja
Keeping with the democratic principle of Praja, the moderation is also democratic
and as transparent and objective as it could be. In summary, to meet the above objectives we have worked with following principles

  1. Most active Praja members become 'moderators' who can 'flag' content for unpublishing. If enough moderators flag a post or comment for unpublishing, it will be automatically unpublished.
  2. All posts published will be reviewed by one of the administrators 'only' for their technical consistency (formatting, tagging, links etc). Admins will NOT unpublish the posts during this review.
  3. All users can vote posts up or down and the posts with highest votes will be predominantly displayed on the front page.
  4. All users should have a facility to bring objectionable content to admins' notice

 

Of these, we are launching all but the third feature today. We hope to launch the third feature soon.


Details of unpublishing posts and comments

  • Users who earn a certain number of Praja points (currently 300) get the right to become a moderator. The eligibility criteria will be continuously adjusted in future as to have approximately top 10% of active users as moderators.
  • Once a users earn moderator role, they see a link below each post/comment which says 'Vote to unpublish this post/comment'. If the moderators think that a post/comment is inappropriate for posting on Praja, they click the link.
  • If more than a pre-set number of moderators vote to unpublish the post (currently set to 25% of moderators ), the post is automatically unpublished.
  • An email is sent to the author and site admins indicating that the post/comment has been unpublished.
  • If a post in unpublished, the author loses 15 Praja points as a penalty. (This is not currently turned on)
  • Administrators have the right to 'veto' this decision. This power is given more for correcting accidental errors rather than to provide for an appeal process. No appeal process is available for unpublished nodes. All unpublished nodes will also be reviewed by admins to ensure that the removal was not accidental.

Details of review by admins for technical aspects

  • Once a post is published by a user, it is added to a special queue 'needs review'. The post remains published when it is on the queue
  • All admins can see the queue and they can review each node.
  • During the review admins make sure all the links in the post are working, the formatting is appropriate and files and images uploaded are relevant. The tags on the post will also be edited suitably. [This review exists to help our technically challenged members and should not be taken as an excuse to post ill-formatted posts].
  • Once a node is reviewed by one of the admins, it is removed from the queue.


Details of highlighing good posts

  • All users can vote a post or comment up
  • Once a certain number of users (a percentage of all users) vote a post up, it will appear on the front page
  • Author will receive an email and gain 5 bonus praja points.

[Note: This feature is yet to be implemented]

Details of reporting abuse by a user

  • All the registered users will see a link below each post/comment which says "Report Abuse". If any user thinks that the post/comment is inappropriate for posting on Praja,they click the link.
  • After a pre-set number of users report this (currently 2), an email is sent to the admins to further look into it.
  • However, the post/comment is NOT unpublished automatically.


As you would expect, all the numbers (Praja points, number of moderators, number of votes to unpublish a post etc.) are tentative and will be fine tuned in future.

We would be eager to know your views on the moderation approach. Criticisms, praise, suggestions and request for clarification are all welcome. We will be happy to include any suggestions conditional upon the technical feasibility of those suggestions.

Can we ask all moderators to confirm that they are seeing the appropriate links please?

-Tech team

New feature - search Bengaluru related sarkaari websites

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Praja related

No big deal this, but we have put up a new feature wherein you can search through all well known Bengaluru related public websites. Its essentially a list of all sarkaari websites pointed out by the geeks of Praja.in put inside a "custom search" widget that will search only this universe of 25-30 websites.

Find it on the main page, top right corner, you just have to select "Bangalore public sites" before you hit search. For example, type "TTMC", search bangalore public sites, and find about more TTMCs in the making.

If you know some odd and not so well known sarkaari sites (Bangalore or state govt level) that we may have missed, leave a comment here, and we will add them.

One thing which is on our wishlist is this. We are not sure if google searches through the tenders on Karnataka govt's eprocurement websites. Would be cool if we could look through all tenders on eprocurement sites as well.

Anyway. Enjoy. And thank Google for their custom search feature.

New features at Praja!

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We at the Tech team are happy to announce another set of new features on Praja. Starting today, all registered users will have access to these new features.

 

1. The Stream Microblog with Twitter Integration

For those of us who are familiar with Twitter, we now have an analogous feature built within Praja. How is PrajaBytes to name it? Suggest better if you have one. The idea is for you to share your status or broadcast those pithy one liners to all Praja users (and especially those who follow you, see below).

  • To start posting, just head to 'My account' and type in the 'Stream' box.
  • What more, you can link one or more of your Twitter accounts to your praja accounts. If you link your Twitter account, a tweet will be posted to your Twitter account when you make a post on Praja.

To link your Twitter account:

  • go to 'My account',
  • choose 'edit' and click on 'Twitter Accounts' tab.
  • Fill in your Twitter id and Twitter password. We need your Twitter password to make posts on your behalf.
  • Rest assured that the passwords will be stored securely and are not accessible to any users, including the admins.

 

2. Ability to follow other Praja users

You can now choose to 'follow' any other user of Praja. Following other Praja user's is a two step process

Step 1 - Choose who you want to follow

Just click on the user's name to go to their page and click the link to become there follower. When you follow a user, whenever they make a new post or a comment, they will appear in your 'activity' view (see below). This is a good way to avoid the posts and authors you are not interested in and read only the ones you want to.

Step 2 - Use your personalized activity view

Activities of all those you follow appear on your Home page. In addition to this, you can click on any user's name and see their page with all their activities, irrespective of whether you follow that user or not.

 

3. An improved navigation menu

For new and old users alike, we have tried to make navigation within the site easier with the 'Topics' menu at the top. The menu presents the contents of the whole website in a easy-to-navigate way. Hope this makes it easier to find posts on topics that interest individual users.

We hope that these features will make it easy to find content on Praja that suits your individual needs and follow the writings of users who you think are insightful. We believe that this is a step in the right direction to create a collaborative online platform for civic issues. Hope you do too!

Do get in touch with us through the contact form with your Bouquets and Brickbats

New navigation on Praja

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We at the tech team are happy to announce new and improved navigation features on Praja.in. These will be launched today. We hope that the changes make it easier for our users to find, read and create relevant content on the site. Read on to know more about the new navigation.

Changed front page

The homepage of Praja (http://praja.in) now has a simplified look when you are not logged in. It has a small slideshow to tell what Praja is about and leads to creating or finding discussions. (We are currently working on improving the looks of the graphics and buttons on this page). This design is done keeping in mind the new users to the Praja community who want to understand what Praja is about.

When the users login, the front page will automatically change to a more personal version. This page is the centre of all the action on Praja for all the users.

PrajaBytes

At the top of this page you will find 'PrajaBytes' box which you can use to share brief updates. Use this feature to tell others what you are currently doing (Praja related, or otherwise) in a maximum of 140 characters. Below the Chikka Chokka updates you will find updates about other users who you chose to follow. Their recent posts, comments and other actions appear for you to click and know more about. If you want a particular user's updates to appear here, just follow them by going to their profile page.

On the sides of the new front page are the links for your account settings, creating new posts, event calendar and other related links. We will add more content to this page as we go along.

Changed navigation menu

The menu at the top of the site now has changed to make it more relevant and easy to use for both new and old users. You can use this menu to create various types of posts. The latest posts, comments and top rated posts are also accessible from this menu.

In addition, you can use 'topics' menu to navigate quickly to the topic of your interest.

We have removed other un-used menu items and have consolidated the help menu.

We hope these changes make the site easier to understand, reduce confusion and allow users to interact with the community better. As usual, we would love to hear about your feedback on this new interfaces, especially on things that you think are not working on need to be improved.

-Tech team

Now everyone can Blog! and other site changes

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Effective today, we are introducing some changes to the way users write posts on Praja. Starting today, all users will be able to post blogs on Praja.

Moreover, we will also stop new forum topics from being added. The old forum posts will remain accessible.We have introduced these changes to reduce the confusion between Forums and Blogs.

We have also introduced 'Categories' for the posts. The current categories are tentative and we can change them based on your feedback. We will appreciate your help in drawing up a exhaustive 'category tree'. Please leave a comment below. We have also made it easier to choose 'Where' and Categories while writing the post.

All users can now also upload files with their posts directly from their desktops. These can be images or documents. Please note that there is a limit of 1MB for file each file and a total of 5MB of total space for each user. For users who have a high number of Praja points, the 5MB limit is extended to 20MB. [We will post a comment below explaining how to upload images and files].

We hope you like these changes. Please let us know what you think either through comments or by mailing "tech at praja.in"

Privacy policy at Praja.in

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Dear Members,

We are in the process of drafting a privacy policy for Praja website, and need your input. Our objective is to have a clear and published privacy policy (see Google for an example).

Note that we do not expose your email address, or physical address (that some of you do fill when registering) to other members. We will NEVER EVER do that. The only instance where your email address is 'exposed' is in cases where the Admins reach out to members to seek specific help or seek some input.

Besides this, when you contact another member via "contact form", you expose your email. But we now have private message feature where you can reach another member without letting him/her know your email.

Next, we email subscription alerts, and each email contains clear links on how to manage your subscriptions (and how to unsubscribe). You can also change your user settings (via "My account") to turn off subscriptions by default.

Also, we expose a "tracking" feature on website, where another user can go to your profile page and see what you have been writing on the website. We want to introduce more features on the "profile" pages, and one of them may let other users see an estimate of what posts (last 10) or "tags" you have 'read' recently. Will that be a breach of your privacy?

Last, sometimes, when a member (say your friend, who is also on Praja) may know you by name or anything else about you (your residence location for example), he/she may inadvertently 'expose' your details. Such cases are beyond our control.

These are a few things relevant to privacy on the website as of today, but there would be some more. We look forward to hearing from you on similar lines - concerns for today, or in future. Instead of drafting something purely on our own, we thought it best to hear from all.

Really appreciate your cooperation, and look forward to the feedback (either via comments or private messages).

cheers,

Praja Admin Team

Project feature is almost here

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We are doing some live testing for an often requested feature - "project". See this KSRTC project to get a feel for what we are upto. Idea is to create a basic structure to group people and posts together.

We will not be providing too many elaborate project management features. Will wait and watch the usage before adding on more. A Praja "project":

  • is a simple tool that clubs together people, and posts associated with a project
  • will be given increased visibility on the main page and city front pages
  • would ideally result from a usual discussion on the website
  • will provide lots of authentic and useful content to drive meaningful discussions on the website.

Lets see how this goes.

We will try move all past projects (BIAL RTI, BMTC interaction etc) into this new feature.

And yeah, the feature is still in development - so do report things that are broken.

Spam Control Feature

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Lately Praja has been flooded with spam posts from people promoting irrelevant products and services. There have been times when the admins/moderators have had to clean up as many as 10 posts in a day. In view of this we have put together a filtration feature.

From now on any post from a new user will have to be approved by the admins before it gets posted. As for the comments by these new users, they can be approved by the admins as well as moderators.

These road blocks have been put in place for new users ONLY. Experienced Praja users will not see any changes. We regret the inconvenience caused to the genuine new users. We request new users to expect a delay in their posts/comments appearing on the site.

Any feedback on this feature as well as a better way of tackling this problem is welcome. Kindly make a comment below this post.

-Tech Team.  

Website updates and restructure

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First of all, thanks all for being patient as we worked through a major website update during last week. While there would still be issues and niggles, we are told that most major issues have been dealt with, and site is back in usable state.

Some features have been dropped or changed either due to technical limitations, or due to low usage. Here is a list:

  • City as group - no longer the case. Till last month, each city was a "group" that members could subscribe to. Most members on this site were subscribed to "Bangalore". In the new site design, we don't treat city as a "group". As a result, if you were banking on "bangalore" group subscriptions to keep in touch, you will have to either visit the site, or use RSS feeds (See below)
  • "My Praja" (aka "My Site") feature was not being used that much. We have dropped support for it. Instead, we will provide a well organized set of RSS feeds, so that you can create customized Praja pages in your favorite portal/RSS reader (my yahoo, igoogle etc)

Some important features, that will take a bit longer to restore are:

  • All RSS feeds have not yet been restored. One main feed for all cities, and one feed per city would be available real soon, hopeful in a week.
  • "Praja points" system is still being upgraded, and reworked a bit. Members will not lose on any points during this time though as the points system is perfectly capable of doing retroactive calculations.
  • "If you liked this, you may also like" feature is not ready yet. We have a replacement ("Similar Items") which is not as good as the previous system which recommended really similar posts. But do note the new "Similar Items"  feature relies heavily on the tags you use for your posts. So if you try to use uncommon and new words as tags, you post is very unlikely to show up as "Similar Item" on some other member's post.

Important new upcoming features that will be rolled out during July/august

  • Image upload support. Members with certain minimum praja points will be able to upload images directly on the site, no need to use flickr unless your image is really huge, or if you prefer storing images there. We are providing this feature for better usability - putting images in flickr and linking them here is a tedious operation for most members.
  • Better support for "projects". Each project will get a page of its own, members would be able to "join" projects, there will be a clear and automated lsit of "members" for every project, and more. So far, project posts have been getting mixed up, lost and not getting their due attention on the website.
  • New sub-sites for National and state level posts. Notice that when you make a post (blog, forum etc), in the "Where" box, you now get to choose India, Karnataka/more states, or the precise cities. So, if you really have a geeky thing or analysis to share, but its not really local, post it under the state (as in Karnataka, or India). Moderation standards still apply - so pre rants and pure opinionated ideological posts may be subject to moderation.

Some features under consideration, but without concrete plans or dates as of now

  • Praja "light" and Praja "heavy" kind of separation to create space for stuff that gets moderated. There have been suggestions that instead of removing ideological rants etc, they could be placed in a "light" section.
  • Mobile version of the site. Many readers want a mobile phone friendly version of the site. This is certainly on the road map.

cheers,

Praja Techs

Your personal profiles on praja

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Starting today, you can tell a bit more about yourself on your profile page. We hope that this gives a 'face' to each one of the users and tells everyone better about what you are.

You can click 'My account' on the top menu or the side menu and then click 'Edit' to get started. You can click on various links near the top of the page to access various categories.

You can start by uploading a picture (or avatar if you are not comfortable uploading your real photo) and every comment you make would now have your picture along with it.

Under 'Personal Information' you can tell us briefly about yourself. You can say if you have been working with a relevant agency or industry so that your opinions get the due weightage. Or you can just tell us whatever you want us to know about you. In 'My Vision', you can tell us about the change you want to see. Your vision for your city and its future. What you think is wrong and how you think it can be set right. This is your stage, the spotlight is on you!

If you run another blog or a website, you can provide the links to those under 'My Online Presence' section. This would not only help other users to visit your site, but will also improve your site/blog's search engine ranking.

You can also tell us where you stay. An approximate location is good enough. Just locate your place on the google map and click. As simple as that. As we grow as a community, it might be useful for finding out members who live close and coordinate with them to address issues of your locality.

Please note that all these information will be open for all other members to see (it will not be open to unregistered members and search engines). If you are not comfortable with other users seeing your information, you are free not to put in any information at all. You can give as much information as you are comfortable with.