If you just need a quick overview you can check out our crash course.
We are continuously adding new features and try to keep this manual up-to-date. Please bear with us if we lag behind!
Before we explain the various function, we need to start with the very basics. The entire system rests upon three interacting categories of items - users, groups, and resources - which we will explain first.
Users are the basic actors on mycitizen.net and they usually correspond to real-world persons. Users can connect to other users, either person-to-person or in groups.
Groups are formed around activities, problems and needs. This is the place where users meet like-minded people, join forces and exchange experiences. Groups can exist around unsolved problems or for a concrete action plan, for a global concern or for a local issue in a real-world neighborhood.
One of the key features of groups is the group chat. Groups can also subscribe to resources.
Users and groups need information resources for their activities. These can be laws, office hours, instructional videos, reports on best practice, locations of clinics, or anything else.
Possible types of resources are:
|event (with a date)1)|
|organization or instiution (possibly existing in the real world)|
|document (for example a law or a report; it can include some formatting and images)|
|video (YouTube or Vimeo)|
|live video (Bambuser)|
|other (just a short description with an external link)|
Users and groups can subscribe to resources so that it will be easier to access them. You can also see what a user or group is up to by checking their subscribed resources.
Tip: You can see the meaning of icons if you hold the mouse pointer above them: A tooltip will appear with a short explanation.
If your administrator has enabled it, you can user your Facebook account to sign up. The first time you use this button, you have to confirm that you grant the permission to obtain your email address.2) Mycitizen.net will try to get your first and last name, your current location and your portrait (avatar).
In future you simply use the same button to sign in.
If you want to use mycitizen.net beyond browsing public items, you need to sign up as a user.
Upon registration, you choose a username that will be displayed on the platform. The registration needs to be confirmed through a link that is sent to your email address.3)
New users will then have the opportunity to enter their personal details. These information will be visible on your profile, helping others to learn more about your background. Some of the information will be used for filtering. Most of these details are optional - you can choose reveal only a part of your information or to remain entirely anonymous.
You can sign in with your username and password. If you forgot your password, you can request a link to your email address to change it.
When you enter the platform you will first see the home screen. The information presented here a different, depending on whether you are signed in or you just came here as a guest.
Visitors who are not signed in will see a general overview and top items of users, groups and resources. As guests they will naturally only see items that have the visibility “world”.
On the home screen you find general information about the platform and you can change the language of the user interface.
As soon as you have signed in, this overview is replaced by personalized information about.
The administrator can add further tabs.
Hovering the mouse over the name of users, you see when they last have been seen online. If they are online right now, you see a green dot.
In the top right corner you will also find a link to your inbox where you find messages from other users and system messages (e.g. when somebody has accepted your friendship request). An indicator shows you whether you have unread messages:
Through the top menu you can go to a list of users, groups or resources. These screens are all structured in a similar way: In the left column you see a list of all items of the chosen category. This list can be filtered. The filter button on the right side indicates whether it is active or not.
If you click on an item in this list, you obtain a brief overview: a description and the connections of the selected item:
You also see whether you have a connection to this item (friendship, membership or subscription) and you can perform general actions. If this item belongs to you (if you view your own profile or if you are the owner or a moderator of a group or resource), you can also edit it.
By clicking on the name of an item in the overview or on the home screen, you will be taken to the details of that item. Here you can see some further details: the tags, the location (if applicable) and the owner.
In the case of resources you will be able to obtain the full information, read the document, watch the films and play the audio files.
As member (of a group) or subscriber (of a resource) you will be able to see and use the group chat or post a comment on the resource.
The group chat is one of the main features of a group where members can talk about the topics and issues that this group is concerned with.
The chat reloads itself when ever something new has been posted, or you can deactivate this function and reload it only manually. Message can contain some basic formatting, including emoticons ( ) and links.
If you click on the reply button of a message, the beginning of that message will be quoted in the editor window, together with its author's name and the time. After posting your reply, this quoted text will help you to identify the message that you have replied to: Hover your mouse over it to highlight the original message, and click to scroll down to it.4)
Groups and resources are created by moderators and by users who are already registered for a certain period of time. This “probation period” helps to prevent spamming or other issues by making sure that users have a clean record before they create anything. If they, however, are found to misuse their freedom and violate the rules, this privilege can be revoked again by moderators. In any case you are always allowed to edit your own profile.
If you have these “creation rights” you will see below the menus for groups and resources the submenu to create new items. The screen to create new items looks very similar to the one where you edit exiting items, the main difference being that you create items in two steps:
Maps are only displayed if a location has been saved. In many cases groups or resources don't have a geographical location. Users' locations show only what they have chosen to save in their profiles. These are not their real locations. The item's position is displayed as a red marker.
If your browser asks you for the permission to retrieve your location, it will only be used to display it on the map as a blue marker. This position is only as accurate as Google manages to determine it.
If both the item's position and your current position are available, the map will try to adjust its zoom so that both are visible. Below the map you find buttons to move the map to each marker, and right of them you find further buttons to zoom in and out at these particular locations.
The text field enables you to search for a place. In some cases it is sufficient to give a town (“New York”), in others you will have to give more details, like adding the country (“Odessa, USA” or “Odessa, Ukraine”).
Tags represent interests, topics or issues. They therefore tell you what a user or group is concerned with or what a resource is about. All items can be searched by their tags through the filter.
When you edit your profile or create groups or resources, you should therefore choose your tags carefully. Only by using the right tags you will be found by the like-minded people.
Tags are organized in two levels: parent and child tags. This makes it possible that an item can be tagged precisely with a particular topic, while it still can be found by searching the more comprehensive tag on the parent level.
Tags are created by the administrator. If users need additional tags, they may request them through the available user support channels.
Filters form a core part of mycitizen.net's concept. Filters help you to narrow down the entire list of users, groups and resources to that what is relevant for you and your activities. Open the filter with the button on the upper right side of the list views.
By applying a filter, the list on the screen will be reduced to items that match these filters. Items can be filtered by their name, by tags, by language, by location, or, in case of resources, by resource type. The default is that each of the filter criteria reduces the group of items that passes the filter. You can, however, also connect the filters by “OR” and find items that match one criteria or the other.
The filter opens in an overlay above the screen. Apart from the usual use by selecting the criteria one-by-one, you can also press “similar to me” to set the filter according to your own preference in your profile and find users, groups and resources that are close to your own interests and in your geographical proximity.
Don't forget to clear the filters after your search is done - otherwise you might wonder why some items in the lists are missing. A different visual appearance will help you to see whether the filter is on or off without having to open the filter window:
Tags are organized on different levels. Filtering by a parent tag will also find all items for its child tags. A tag labeled “Human Rights” would, for instance, find also items with the tags “Freedom of Speech” and “Children's Rights”. This way you can do a broad search for general terms or focus on specific topics.
The location filter is applied in two steps: First, you set the center of your search by clicking on the map. Second, you set the search radius around that centre by clicking a second time. You will now see two pins on the map - one for the center and another one for the radius. Both markers can be moved around.
If you want to remove the markers, click the “clear” button . The map on the filter screen also offers the possibility to search for a place.
As user you can choose to get connected to other users, to groups and to resources. This is called friendship (users), membership (groups) or subscription (resources). These connections give you three main advantages:
Of course it also works the other way around: Other users will be able to see your connections5) and accordingly form their picture of you.
You can ask any other user for friendship. The friendship will be effective once the request has been accepted, i.e. the friendship is mutual.
There are some things that friendship enables you to do:
Likewise you can become a member of a group, which will have similar effects:
If you subscribe to a resource you can enjoy the following advantages:
Not only individuals can benefit from resources but also groups. Groups are therefore - just like users - able to subscribe to resources. The resource will then be listed among the group resources and members of that group will have full access to that resource. These subscriptions can only be made and canceled by the owners and moderators of that group.
Messages can be sent in three areas:
There are some features that appear only at selected places where it makes sense:
Inside the messages you can use some referrers that will be converted into clickable links:
|@text||searches users with 'text' in their name||@mary|
|@@text||searches groups with 'text' in their name||@@ict4d|
|@@@text||searches resources with 'text' in their name||@@@delhi|
|@number||links to the user with ID 'number', displaying the name||@12|
|@@number||links to the group with ID 'number', displaying the name||@@3|
|@@@number||links to the resource with ID 'number', displaying the name||@@@765|
|#text||searches items with a tag 'text'; search starts at users||@mary|
The text cannot contain spaces, which need to be converted to “_”.
Privacy is managed consistently throughout the entire platform by setting their visibility. Each element of users, groups and resources can have their own visibility.
There are three types of visibility:
There are some important notes that you should be aware of:
All items can be reported (click ) by users if they violate the rules, e.g. if they post spam or use inappropriate language or hate speech, or if an item has been created by mistake. Reports are processed by administrators and moderators who can send a warning to the users or owners via the private message system and who can eventually even deactivate the user, group or resource.
If users are found creating unconstructive groups or resources, they can merely be deprived of their right to create groups and resources, while they continue being able to log in and use their account.