Interface menu (only visible to users with administration permissions)
We are now going to see the different independent interfaces that CONSUL DEMOCRACY has, from which everything that happens on the platform can be easily administered and managed. These interfaces are the following: Administration, Moderation, Evaluation, Management, Table Presidents and ODS Content.
Administrators can access all of them, and additionally assign permissions to other users to access any of them, and thus be able to collaborate with the management of processes in a decentralized and secure manner.
In the following sections, we will explain the use of each of the interfaces.
In the previous sections, we have already seen a large part of the interface sections linked to the configuration of the processes (proposals, debates, voting, participatory budgets and collaborative legislation).
Let's see the rest now:
3.1.1 Ballot box
This section allows you to enable offline voting booths both for "Voting" and for "Participatory Budgets". The ballot boxes are managed through the "Table Presidents" interface to ensure that no person can vote twice (at the ballot box and/or on the digital platform). It also allows monitoring of the evolution of voting at the polls in a decentralized manner.
To use offline voting booths, we must first define the voting. This will be done in the "Voting" menu or in the "Participatory Budgets" menu (in the "Manage ballot boxes" button), depending on one or the other case. Once the voting is created, you can define the ballot boxes, table presidents and assign the corresponding shifts.
Ballot box creation interface
- Table presidents. List of users with the role of "table presidents". Users are allowed during a vote to access the polling station presidents interface (which we will explain later), where voting in face-to-face polling stations is managed. They verify that people vote correctly, that no one votes twice, and verify the results of the table. To assign the role of "table president" search for the user in the top field, and then click the button next to the username.
- Ballot box location. Ballot boxes or polling stations can be given a name and their location, so they can be easily managed. Click on "Add ballot box" to define a new polling point and its location. The "type of ballot box" differentiates between a "physical ballot box" where people vote in a ballot box and a "digital ballot box" where people vote directly on a tablet or computer. The first involves a manual process of counting votes and scrutiny of the results by the polling station presidents.
- Assignment of ballot boxes. The platform controls which ballot boxes are used for each active vote and which table presidents are at each ballot box. The button "manage assignments" allows you to select which ballot boxes will be used for each vote, by clicking on "assign ballot box" next to the selected ballot box.
- Assign shifts. By clicking on "Assign turns" for each ballot box, you can search for the table presidents. The "Edit Turn" button to the right of each President allows you to add a turn for that President at that ballot box. Shifts can be defined as "Collect Votes" for days when voting is open, and "Counting" for days after voting. These two tasks allow different options for the officer in the "president's interface" during the voting process. Multiple shifts can be assigned to each chairperson.
3.1.2 Signature sheets
Signature sheet creation interface
In case it is allowed to support proposals or projects of participatory budgets through traditional signature sheets, that part of the process can be managed here. This section allows you to upload the signatures so that it can be verified if the citizens can support the proposal/project and not have duplicate or unverified signatures.
To upload new signatures, click on "New signature sheet". Select if it is a proposal or a participatory budget project, write its ID (it is shown on the proposal/project web page) and then add the citizen document numbers separated by commas. By clicking on "Create signature sheet", the system will verify each signature and add the supports that are valid to the proposal/project. Please note that the verification system may be slow. You can return later to the sign-in sheet web page to check the result. All the signature sheets will be displayed in this section, with a link for each one that shows all the information and the result after creating it, for any additional verification.
3.1.3 Messages to Users
This section manages communication with users. The following possibilities are available:
Newsletter creation interface
- Newsletters. Informative newsletters are emails sent to users. For each one, you can define the content of the email and which users will receive it. Click on "New newsletter" to define the subject, the email address that will appear as the one that sends it, the text and the recipients (the users who will receive it). Once created, you can check its "Preview" and then send it with the "Send" button on the preview page.
- Notifications. Notifications are internal messages that appear in the users' notification panel (the bell at the top right of the screen). You can define the recipients, the title and the text (as in the previous section), and also a link. When the user clicks on the notification, that link will open.
- System emails. In this section, you can find all the internal system emails that are sent to users. For example, the emails that are sent to the user when registering, when verifying the account, etc. A special type of email from the system is the "Proposal Notification Summary". Proposal authors can write proposal notifications that appear on the proposal web page. Those notifications are sent to all users who support the proposal through this summary. Here you can preview the abstract, check the content to avoid spam, and send it when you decide.
- Email download. This last option allows you to select a group of users and download their emails in a CSV file, to be used in an external communication system.
3.1.4 Site content
- Homepage. In this section, you can configure what is shown on the initial screen of the platform when entering it.
The first menu allows you to define the "Header", by pressing the "Create header" button. This is the first section that appears just below the menu bar, and that allows us to give the greatest visibility to what seems most relevant to us. The section can be configured with a title that will appear large, a small description, an additional image, and a link that will be accessed by clicking the button that will appear on the section.
The next element to configure is the "Cards". These cards are rectangles smaller than the header section, and located below, which will allow us to highlight other relevant processes or links, although less than the one in the header. We can create all the cards we want with the "Create card" button, which will be placed one after the other. Cards are defined in the same way with title, description, image and link.
Next, we can activate four different elements, with the “Activate” buttons: Proposals, Debates, Processes and Recommendations. Proposals will show us the proposals that appear at the head of the "Proposals" section of the platform. Debates consists of the same thing, but refer to the general section of the "Debates" platform. Processes will activate a format similar to the previous Cards, but with the content of the latest processes that are active in the "Processes" or "Collaborative Legislation" section of the platform. In these three cases, we can select the number of elements that will be displayed for each one. The last option "Recommendations" activates a module at the bottom of the page, which will only be seen when you are logged in as a user on the platform.
When this is the case, it will show three discussions and three proposals recommended to our user, based on the discussions and proposals we have supported before. This automatic recommendation system selects tags from discussions and proposals we've supported and looks for other items with the same tags. If we enter with our user in the Debates or Proposals section at the top of the debates or proposals we find different filters to order the elements: "Most active / Best valued / New / Recommended". This last filter is the same one used to display recommended items on the home page.
- Custom pages. In this subsection, you can create information pages for users. Click the "Create New Page" button to define it. The page includes a title, subtitle, and text. You can define the language of the page and also the "slug" (the URL that will be displayed in the web browser). The status can be chosen between "draft" (while we're creating it) and "published" (visible to users). And two additional options can be selected: display it in the "help" section of the platform and include a "print" button to make it easier for users to print.
In the list of pages, in addition to the link "See page" we will find another link "See cards". This allows you to add cards to highlight content at the bottom of the page, which will work the same as the cards explained in the previous Homepage section.
- Manage banners. This section allows you to configure banners that will be displayed at the top of the Debates and Proposals sections of the platform. They will allow us to highlight other processes or links that we find especially relevant.
By clicking on the "Create a banner" button we can fill in the following information:
-Style. That will define the style of fonts and colours of the banner.
-Image. The background image of the banner.
-Start and end of publication. The banner will be displayed automatically during the selected period.
-Title and description. The text to be displayed on the banner.
-Link. The URL to which we will be directed when clicking on the banner.
The banners remain saved and can be reused later.
- Customize texts. This section shows all the texts that are on the platform, both those seen by users and administrators or other roles. From the names of the menus, through the text of the buttons, to the informative texts.
Changing any text, and pressing the "Save changes" button we will see how it changes on the platform.
The texts are grouped in different tabs, to make it easier to find them. In particular, it is advisable to review the first tab titled "Basic customization". There we will find some text strings that we will most likely want to configure specifically for our platform.
- Documents. This section allows us to upload files to the platform, which we can then link from any page or content that we create. To upload a file you only have to click on the "Upload document" button, select the file you want and click on "Upload document". In the list of documents the uploaded files will be shown, including the URL, which if we click on it will take us to the URL in the file browser. This will be the address that we can use in any section of the web.
3.1.5 Moderate content
The moderation of the platform is done from the moderation interface, which we will explain later. This section, however, allows you to track it. It shows all the content moderated by moderators or administrators of the platform, as well as the activity of the moderators to verify that it is being done correctly. All moderation activities are logged and can be verified by other administrators.
The subsections 'hidden proposals', 'hidden discussions', 'hidden comments' and 'hidden proposal notifications' work the same way. Each displays the list of moderated content, with "redisplay" and "confirm moderation" buttons next to each content.
- The first undo the moderation action, making the content public again.
- The second confirms that the moderation was successful and moves the content to the "confirmed" tab. The commit action doesn't change anything publicly, it's only useful for internal moderation review purposes.
The 'blocked users' subsection shows all users who have been blocked on the platform. In the same way, the blocking action can be undone or confirmed.
The subsection 'activity of the moderators' contains a record of each moderation action carried out and the date and the user who carried it out, to ensure that it was carried out correctly.
In this section, you can define the general configuration options of the platform which, in general, do not affect the configuration of each specific participation process. These other configurations, as we have seen, are adjusted from the sections of each of the processes.
- Global setting. This is the main configuration section. It is divided into the following tabs: Global Settings, Participation Processes, Features, Map Settings, Images and Documents, and Proposal Progress Panel.
Global Configuration Tabs
- Global setting. Here we find the general parameters of the platform. Some parameters that are important to configure are the following: Number of supports necessary to approve a Proposal, Months to archive the Proposals, General URL of the web, Site name, Sender email name, Sender email address, and Minimum age to participate.
- Participation processes. This section allows you to activate and deactivate the different participation modules: Debates, Proposals, Voting, Participatory Budgets, Collaborative Legislation and SDGs.
- Features. By clicking on the “activate/deactivate” buttons, specific functionalities such as registration with Facebook or Twitter, the Communities spaces in the proposals, Recommendations, Geolocation, etc. will appear or disappear from the platform.
- Map settings: If geolocation is activated in the Functions section and latitude, longitude and zoom are correctly defined in the "Global configuration" section, we will see a map in this section, which will be the one displayed by default in participatory budget proposals and projects in order to place proposals.
- Images and documents. From this tab, you configure the type of images and documents that are allowed to be uploaded to the platform when creating proposals or other types of content, or the participation processes themselves. In particular, it is important to specify the type of files and the minimum size of the images.
- Proposal progress panel. As we have seen, when creating a proposal, its author can access a progress panel that allows him to follow how it evolves, as well as have resources and recommendations for his proposal to be successful. The resources and recommendations are defined in the following menu of the administration interface that we explained in point 2.1.3 but here you can define some of the parameters of this panel.
- SDG Configuration: This section will enable and disable the possibility of aligning the content of the different modules to the Goals and Goals of the 2030 Agenda.
- Themes of proposals. As we have seen, here when a user creates a proposal, some default labels are suggested for his proposal. These categories will also be displayed in the sidebar of the proposals section. In this section, you can define those labels by writing them in the upper field and clicking on the "Create theme" button.
- Manage districts. When creating proposals from the general section of Proposals, they can be categorized as belonging to a specific geographical area. To define the geographical areas, click on the "Create an area" button and add the name and coordinates (the other fields are not necessary). The coordinates refer to the coordinates in the image that we defined in the installation of the platform (see the installation manual), they do not refer to geographic coordinates of latitude and longitude.
- Customize images. Here we will include basic images of the platform, such as the logo that will appear on it in the top bar.
- Customize blocks. This option allows us to define HTML blocks that will be embedded in the header or footer of the platform on all pages. This space helps us, for example, to integrate tracking tags for promotional campaigns. It is important to note that one of the options of these blocks is to change the main menus of the page by adding new menus, by adding "Main Navigation" blocks.
3.1.7 Proposal Progress Dashboard
Everything related to this section is explained in detail in point 2.1.3, together with the rest of the configuration options of the proposals.
CONSUL DEMOCRACY is a multi-language platform. This corresponds to different functionalities:
- The text of the platform itself (menus, buttons, informative text, etc.) is multi-language.
- When administrators create participation processes, the content of the process is multi-language.
- The content created by users (proposals, debates, comments) is multi-language.
- There is an automatic translation system that allows the above contents to be translated into other languages when the administrators or users themselves have not done so.
In any of the forms where administrators or users can write some text, we will see a language bar at the top
This bar shows a tab with the default language, and below a selector with the text "Add language". Pressing this selector will show the other available languages. When choosing a new language, a new tab will appear with the chosen language.
By clicking between tabs we can create the text in those languages. When we save the text, it will be saved in the languages that we have added. In case we want to delete any language, we can click on the link on the right side "Delete language".