When joining a new community, it can be tough to figure out where to ask questions, provide feedback, or help out. Don’t worry! As long as you’re respectful and follow our Code of Conduct, we’re happy to have you!

Here are some guidelines regarding the best way to get in touch or contribute. Do note that Open States is a volunteer-powered project, and all of the core developers have day jobs; we’re excited to talk to you, but will be most communicative outside of East Coast business hours.


Want to ask a general question, have a conversation, or listen in to the community?

The best place is our Slack Channel. This is the main place for Open States discussion. The core team and many other contributors are present there, and we’re usually able to answer questions in a timely fashion.

Have a private or financial question, or a security concern?

Email; only the administrative team can see these.

Have you found an error or issue in the Open States data?

File an issue on our bug tracker. And before you do, quickly check whether anyone else there has already reported the same bug.

Have a technical issue not related to the data itself?

Try to find the appropriate repository in our GitHub organization, and file an issue there. For example:

Have a feature request, or something else that doesn’t fit here?

We use the openstates/meta repository to track feature requests and big-picture questions. If in doubt, it is OK to post to this repo. We may move your ticket to the appropriate place.

Discouraged Methods of Communication

Avoid using these channels to get in touch with us:

Personal email addresses of Open States developers

Please refrain from contacting any of the developers directly outside of Slack, unless we ask you to do so.

Twitter (or any other social media)

We mainly use the @openstates twitter account to make announcements, and don’t have the resources to provide technical support or other feedback on Twitter.

The old Google Group

Because of spam, every post to the group has to be moderated, which makes it a much slower and less effective way to get in touch.

We’re considering deprecation of the group sometime in 2017.