Enabling hgUserSuggestion

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On 26 June 2013, the UCSC Genome Browser team released a suggestion box for feature requests. The suggestion box is handled by a new CGI: "hgUserSuggestion". Mirror sites can enable their own suggestion boxes by configuring hgUserSuggestion to accept requests from users.

Enabling hgUserSuggestion

To enable the hgUserSuggestion CGI on a Genome Browser mirror, add these six parameters to the genome browser configuration file hg.conf in your /cgi-bin/ directory:

  • suggest.mailToAddr
  • suggest.mailFromAddr
  • suggest.filterKeyword
  • suggest.mailSignature
  • suggest.mailReturnAddr
  • suggest.browserName

An example set of entries drawn from ex.hg.conf (located in the src/product directory of the kent repository) follows - they should be edited as appropriate for your institution.

# The following 6 parameters are used to set up your browser to accept user suggestions.
# After a user submits a suggestion, both the user and the suggestion admin address below
# will receive an email containing the suggestion.
# email address for the suggestion admin
# sender address for the suggestion email 
# Keyword in the mail subject line to help filter out spam
# signature written at the bottom of suggestion emails
suggest.mailSignature=My Lab browser administrator
# contact address for suggestion follow up
# browser name used in emails
suggest.browserName=myLab Genome Browser

The usage of these parameters is explained in the following section.

hgUserSuggestion in action

After the user (e.g., mirrorfan@abc.edu) submits a suggestion, hgUserSuggestion will:

  • Create a suggestion reference ID from the user's email address and the date/time the suggestion was submitted (e.g., "mirrorfan@abc.edu 2013-07-15 09:35:50")
  • Send the suggestion in an email to suggest.mailToAddr (in our example hg.conf above, that's suggestion@myuniversitysoe.edu) containing the suggestion ID, summary, and details.
    • The subject line of this email will be a combination of suggest.filterKeyword and the previously generated reference ID (e.g., "FORYOUREYESONLY mirrorfan@abc.edu 2013-07-15 09:35:50"). The value of suggest.filterKeyword can be used to help filter out any spam sent to your suggestion box email address (just discard any email without that keyword in the subject).
  • Display a confirmation message.
  • Send a confirmation email to the user.
    • The suggest.mailFromAddr, suggest.mailSignature, suggest.mailReturnAdd, and suggest.browserName fields will be used when sending the confirmation email. The hg.conf settings provided above will result in a message like the following:
 From: browserAdministrator@mylab.university.edu
 Subject: Thank you for your suggestion to the MyLab Genome Browser
 To: mirrorfan@abc.edu
   Someone (probably you, from IP address 123.456.78.9) submitted a suggestion to the MyLab Genome Browser 
 regarding "Ovis aries Oar_v3.1".

   The suggestion has been assigned a reference number of "mirrorfan@abc.edu 2013-07-15 09:35:50".
 If you wish to follow up on the progress of this suggestion with browser staff, you may contact us at
 browserAdministrator@mylab.university.edu. Please include the reference number of your suggestion in the email.

 Thank you for your input,
 My Lab browser administrator
 Your suggestion summary:
 Ovis aries Oar_v3.1

 Your suggestion details:
 The Ovis aries 3.1 sequence is available at NCBI now. Please create a browser for this assembly.