New Feature: Upload Restrictions

Call admins now have the ability to restrict which types of files are allowed for uploads.

The new setting is in two places: the form builder and the Publishing Module. In both cases it is a safelist (as opposed to a blocklist) meaning authors are only allowed to upload files with extensions you specify. Or put another way, authors are prohibited from uploading files not in the list.

For example, if you are collecting speaker headshots and only want JPEGs, you would enter “jpeg jpg”. That way, only filenames ending with “.jpeg” or “.jpg” would be allowed.

Screenshots of new filetypes settingThe image to the right contains two screenshots. The one on top shows how the new setting looks in the form builders while the one on the bottom shows the setting in the Publishing Module.

Here are some other important details about the new feature:

  • The following file extensions are included by default whenever a file-upload field is added to a form or the Publishing Module is activated:
    • Compressed archives (.zip)
    • Images (.gif, .jpeg, .jpg, .png, .tif, .tiff)
    • PDFs (.pdf)
    • Powerpoint presentations (.ppt, .pptx)
    • Videos (.mov, .mp4, .wmv)
    • Word docs (.doc, .docx)

    Feel free to add or remove the default extensions to suit your needs.

  • Extensions may be entered any number of ways:
    • uppercase or lowercase (e.g. “JPEG” and “jpeg” are identical)
    • with or without commas (e.g. “jpeg, jpg” and “jpeg jpg” are identical)
    • with or without a dot (e.g. “.jpeg” and “jpeg” are identical)

    You can even mix and match! (e.g. “jpeg .jpg, gif, .PDF”)

  • Enter as many extensions as you like. There is no limit.
  • The feature is designed to catch any file with an extension that does not match its actual type. For example, if you only allow files ending in “.gif” and someone uploads a file named “upload.gif” that is actually a PDF, the system will reject the file.
  • It is only possible to safelist extensions. (Blocklists are not as secure.)
  • Leave the setting blank if you do not want to have any restrictions. It is extremely important to understand, however, that this is not recommended because it allows users to upload any type of file, including executables (.exe), which are extremely risky.
  • Lastly, consider limiting the list to common filetypes. Doing so might place a bit of an extra burden on authors but it will make life easier for reviewers. Take presentations for example. You could allow Powerpoint (.ppt and .pptx), Keynote (.key), Prezi (.exe), and Visme (.zip) files but this can cause two problems:
    1. Reviewers would need all of those applications to view files.
    2. A couple of the extensions (.exe and .zip) are not limited to presentation applications and would allow any executable or compressed archive to be uploaded.

    Instead, consider allowing only PDFs (.pdf), which can be generated from any of the above applications and can be viewed by reviewers in any web browser.

I hope you will find the new setting useful. If you have any feedback please do not hesitate to let me know. And if you have any tips for other call admins, please be sure to leave them in the comments below.

PubMod Updates

The Publishing Module has a number of exciting improvements in place:

  • The module now uses the domain mtgsked.com instead of the main proposalspace.com domain.
  • Virtually all of the ProposalSpace-specific branding is gone, making the meeting-specific branding stand out more.
  • The meeting name, location, and dates can now be customized in the module’s settings.
  • Pages are responsive (i.e. they display nicely on mobile devices).

References to old URLs (using the proposalspace.com domain) should automatically redirect to the new domain, so there’s no need to update your code if you use the iFrame or JavaScript implementations to publish session info on your own site. You can if you want, of course, but there shouldn’t be any need to.

Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you come across any issues or have any suggestions for improvement!

New Feature: Admin Session Copies

Calls using the Advanced Scheduling Module now have a new option when creating admin sessions:

Previously all admin sessions had to be started from scratch. This posed a bit of a challenge, however, if someone wanted to combine multiple submissions into a single session (for a panel discussion, for example).

Now admins have the option of either starting an admin session from scratch or making a copy of a submission or another admin session. Hopefully this helps to minimize the need to copy and paste most, if not all, of the content into the new session.

Submittable Reviews

Update (27 Feb 2021): The changes outlined below are now in place!

One of the Review Module’s most useful features has always been the ability for reviewers to save incomplete or provisional reviews. It’s especially handy for reviewers who want to record their initial assessment of a submission then finalize it later, after they’ve analyzed their other assignments.

Up to now, though, there was no way for reviewers to “lock in” their reviews. Unfortunately this meant call admins and review chairs couldn’t be 100% certain a review was ever final, even after the review deadline had passed.

That’s about to change! Soon reviewers will have the option to submit completed reviews, marking them as final for call admins and review chairs. Reviewers will still be able to save their work and return to make changes later, but only until they submit a review. Once that happens the review will be locked, allowing the reviewer to view it but not to make further changes to it (unless a call admin unlocks it).

screenshots showing Tracker dataOn the admin side, values for reviewer progress and average score will no longer be calculated based on all reviews. Instead, the default will be to calculate those values using only submitted reviews. The Tracker will, however, have a handy toggle that will allow admins and chairs to include unsubmitted reviews. (See screenshots to the right showing information for the same two submissions. Each submission has been assigned to two reviewers. The reviewers have completed their reviews but have not submitted them. The top image shows the default view, which is based solely on submitted reviews. The bottom image shows the same view but with unsubmitted reviews included.)

Other new features for admins and chairs include the ability to submit reviews on behalf of reviewers and to unlock/return submitted reviews to make them editable. The data-export feature will also include the review status of each review in the output file.

Reviewers will see changes in two places: the main review form and the page that displays their review assignments.

On the main review form, reviewers will no longer have to click a button to save their work. Changes will instead be saved automatically. Because of that, the Save button will no longer be needed and will be replaced with a Submit button, which will be inactive until the review is eligible for submission (i.e. the reviewer has answered all of the required questions on the review form).

review-assignment page detailOver on the review-assignments page, reviewers will see two new columns in the assignments table: Review Status and Actions. (See the screenshot to the right.)

The Review Status column will display one of the following four values for each review assignment:

  • Not started = None of the review questions have been answered.
  • Incomplete = Some review questions have been answered but at least one required question is missing an answer.
  • Complete = All required review questions have been answered. The review is eligible for submission.
  • Submitted = The review has been submitted and may not be changed.

(BTW, these are the same values used in the data-export file.)

The Actions column will always display a button to edit the review (or to view it if it’s been submitted). If the review is complete but has not yet been submitted, the column will also display a button to submit the review.

I really hope these changes will improve the user experience for call admins and review chairs by making it possible for them to know for certain when reviewers are done with their work while not taking away any of the features and functionality already enjoyed by reviewers. As always, if you have any feedback about the changes or want to pass along ideas for other improvements, please let me know!

New Feature: Display Proposal Labels to Authors

Call admins now have the option to display proposal labels to authors.

Previously, labels (tags) assigned to proposals were only visible to admins. Now there’s an option in the call settings that, when enabled, will also allow authors to see the labels.

The default setting, BTW, is not to display labels to authors, so if you’d like to change that just check the checkbox under the new "Visibility" section on the Labels settings page (under Settings -> General -> Labels).

Got questions or feedback? Please don’t hesitate to let me know!

Pricing Changes

Remember 2010? It was a time before Instagram, the iPad, and the Tesla Model S. The Space Shuttle was still flying.

It was also the last time ProposalSpace increased prices.

The site has continued to grow, however, adding a slew of valuable new features that come standard with every call activation:

  • Test Mode
  • submission-form word/character limits
  • labels
  • proposal histories
  • reviewer conflicts of interest
  • activity summaries for call admins
  • autosave for authors
  • locked questions for returned submissions
  • multiple file uploads per question
  • message delivery receipts
  • submission-deadline countdown
  • security upgrades

In order to better reflect the site’s value—and to ensure resources are available for continued improvements—I’m announcing the following changes to pricing effective 1 Jan 2021:

  • Activation Fee: $250
  • Submission Fee: $8.50
  • Publishing Module: $75
  • Custom submission receipt: $75
  • Maximum file-upload size: $50 for 100 MB and $75 for 250 MB

Pricing for all other features and modules (e.g. custom review form, Advanced Scheduling Module) will remain unchanged. In addition, none of the site’s core features will change, including:

  • Unlimited support
  • Free accounts
  • Free use for authors and reviewers
  • No obligation to start and test calls
  • Unlimited call admins, review chairs, and reviewers

😎 Pro Tip: The Activation Fee and Submission Fee are locked in when a call is created, not when it’s activated, so if you create or copy a call before the price changes go into effect you can take advantage of the old pricing regardless of when you plan on actually activating the call.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to let me know by commenting below or by contacting me directly.

New Feature: Enhanced Activation

Quick update for call admins: Now, when you go to activate your call you have the option to activate optional modules too!

Previously, a call had to be activated first and then each optional module (Advanced Scheduling, Publishing, Custom Submission Receipt, etc.) would have to be activated individually. With this update, you can now choose which, if any, optional modules you want to include with the initial activation.

You can still activate optional modules individually like you could before; This just gives you the added convenience of including them with the initial activation.

Multilingual Support

I’m excited to announce the initial release of multilingual support in ProposalSpace!

So far the effort has centered on a handful of pages—sign-in, sign-up, Dashboard, and the Review Module—in French and Spanish, but that’s just the start. Soon, call admins will also be able to manage call settings—including forms—in multiple languages.

Want to view the site in another language? Switching couldn’t be easier:

screenshotIf you are not signed in, you’ll see a language selector in the top, right-hand corner of every page (screenshot, left). Select your preferred language from the drop-down and voilà… the site will appear in that language from then on.

screenshotIf you are signed in, you can set your language preference in your profile settings. To get to your profile settings, click your name in the top, right-hand corner of any page. Then click the Edit Profile link and select your preferred language in the Language section (screenshot, left).

As always, feedback is welcome! If you have additions, corrections, suggestions for improvement, or requests for additional languages, please don’t hesitate to send them to translations@proposalspace.com.

Revised Delivery Criteria for the Messaging Module

We’ve made a slight change to the way messages are sent with the Messaging Module.

Previously the module always sent one copy per user per proposal. Unfortunately that could be confusing if an individual had more than one proposal because someone could receive multiple copies of the same message and not understand why.

The module continues to send one copy per user per proposal, but only if the message contains proposal-specific merge fields, like the proposal ID or title. That way, if someone receives multiple copies it should be clear which proposal each copy is for. If, however, the message does not contain proposal-specific merge fields, then the module sends just one copy per user, regardless of how many proposals that user is associated with.

To help understand the change, here is an example: Mary is associated with two proposals. In one she is a speaker and in the other she is both a speaker and the primary contact. You set up a message to go to all speakers and primary contacts for all proposals. If the message includes proposal-specific merge fields (e.g. the proposal title) Mary will receive two copies (one copy per proposal). Otherwise, she will receive just one copy.

screenshotWe’ve also made a slight change to the module’s interface (right). When you are editing a message, the module still provides a count of how many messages will be sent but now that number is an active link to a popup that displays the full list of recipients. (BTW, the screenshot shows 19 copies for 21 draft proposals because the message does not contain proposal-specific merge fields. That means only one message is sent per user, regardless of how many proposals each user created. In other words, 19 users created 21 proposals. If one or more proposal-specific merge fields were added to the message body, the number would increase to 21, or one copy per proposal.)

Pro tip: Always include proposal information (ID and/or title) in the message body. It really cuts down on confusion, especially when a recipient has more than one proposal in the system, which most do. Take for example someone with two proposals: one unsubmitted (draft) and the other submitted. If you were to send a message only to draft proposals but did not include proposal information in the message, the recipient would have no way of knowing which proposal the message was for and might think the proposal they submitted was not actually submitted.

Archive Extension for Postponed Meetings

Normally in ProposalSpace calls are automatically archived by the system one year after activation. But things aren’t exactly normal right now, so we’ve decided to extend that period for a year.

The extension applies to calls activated January 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020 with a submission deadline on or after January 1, 2020.

For example, let’s say you activated your call January 1, 2020 and originally had a submission deadline of April 1, 2020, but you needed to extend the deadline a year to April 1, 2021. Normally the system would not allow you to accept submissions after December 31, 2020 because that’s when it would automatically archive the call. Now, however, the system won’t archive the call until December 31, 2021, giving you plenty of time (hopefully) to extend the deadline.

Hopefully this change will allow meetings that had to be postponed enough time to keep their calls open without having to pay for an extension. If you’ve had to extend your deadline by more than a year, please let us know and we’ll be happy to work something out.

Also, note that this change only affects calls that are automatically archived. You can still manually archive a call any time you like.

Stay safe and healthy.