ElectionLeaflets is taking a break for a while. The archive and uploader will be offline until we have time to perform some essential maintaince.
Why is this happening?
ElectionLeaflets is a volunteer run project, run with no funding.
We've been supported by Democracy Club for the last 5 years, who have provided a forum for the developer community and some contribution to the hostings costs.
Dispite many attempts, this project hasn't won any funding bids or support from an institution that might help with it's ongoing maintaince.
Because of this, and because there is a backlog of work that needs doing, we've decided to take a break until we can do the work needed to keep the archive running for years to come.
What needs doing?
Mainly, we need to fix the uploader. There are a lot of bugs with it, that in turn adds a support burden of replying to emails from people who can't upload leaflets.
We also need to change the data structure of the project to deal with elections over time, add new parties and so on.
More broadly, keeping a project on the internet just takes time and money. Updating secutiry requirements and keeping everything up to date takes some regular developer time.
None of this stuff is very _interesting_ as, like The Red Queen, it involves running to keep still – doing work to keep the show on the road.
Adding new features is more work still, that we would love to do.
For example, we have the ability to crowdsource "tags" about leaflets, added in 2015. This helps group leaflets by type party, and many other things. It works ok, but the user registration code stopped working some time in 2016, meaning no one can actually use it.
Yes, fixing that exact problem isn't hard, but it's an example of one of the many problems that _just take time_.
When will it be back?
We need support in the form of money, or python developers who are willing to contribute time to maintain the code
We also would like a promotional partner to help get more uploads to the project. Media companies and newspapers would be perfect, as would an existing archive or library.
In reality, we expect to find the time to fix the basics later on in 2019. This might involve putting the read-only archive back online, but hopefully will include an updated uploader and user accounts.
If you think you can help, (ideally with money!), please get in touch with Democracy Club.