User Help FAQs for our platform.
We’ve put together this list of Frequently Asked Questions for our Citizen OS co-decision platform. Watch this space for our new Help Centre coming soon, but in the meantime—if you ever get stuck this is a great place to start!
- Why can't I access the group or topic I've been invited to?
- Can I see how many people have voted while the vote is still in progress?
- Can I see who has voted while the vote is still in progress?
- In Estonia, when votes are cast using digital signatures, what file formats and data will I be able to download?
- In Estonia, when submitting digital signatures to the Commercial Register, Riigikogu or local government, what file types should I download?
- Can I see if any of the email addresses I invited to a group or topic bounced?
- What is the maximum attachment size that can be uploaded, and what file types are allowed?
- In what situations does the Citizen OS platform send out automatic email notifications to users?
- Why can't I log in through Internet Explorer?
- How does Foundation Citizen OS fund itself if the platform is free?
Why can't I access the group or topic I've been invited to?
Topics and groups can only be accessed using a Citizen OS account which is registered with the same email address the invitation was sent to.
Follow these two key steps for topic/group access:
Click on the link in the invitation email you received for joining the group or topic.
Login or register using the same email address the invitation was sent to, according to the two scenarios below:
- If you already have a Citizen OS account registered with the email address your invitation was sent to, log in using that account.
- If you do not yet have a Citizen OS account registered with the email address your invitation was sent to, register a new one with the correct address.
A few tips:
- If you are logging in with a social login such as Google or Facebook, this will only work if your social media account is registered with the same email address as the one with which you were invited to the group or topic.
- The option to log in with your ID-card/Mobile ID (applicable to Estonian ID-cards) will only appear if you have previously created a Citizen OS account with the email address to which the invitation was sent, and have previously digitally signed at least one document through that account. If this is not the case, you will need to log in using the email address instead.
- If you are unsure what email address your Citizen OS account is registered with, or which account you are currently logged in to, you can check this in “My Account” next to your profile avatar.
Can I see how many people have voted while the vote is still in progress?
Yes, anyone can see how many people have voted, both during and after the vote. This is displayed as an anonymous numerical result.
To see this:
Go into the topic then click on the “Vote” tab at the top.
To the right of “Cast your vote” or “Voting results” (depending on whether the vote is still ongoing) you will see the number of votes cast.
In a private topic, you will see two numbers. The first number (left) shows how many people have voted and the second number (right) shows how many people have joined the topic in total.
In a public topic, you will see just one number. This is the number of people who have voted so far.
Can I see who has voted while the vote is still in progress?
No, the administrator(s) of a topic can see who has voted, but only once the voting period has ended.
However, administrators are able to see who has joined the topic in the Activity Feed, which is located below “My account” in the main navigation menu. There, the names of everyone who has joined or commented on the topic so far are displayed, along with the date and time they did so. The date and time of votes cast are displayed too, but anonymously.
When the voting period ends, the administrator(s) can download a summary report with the voting results and voter details. The voter details will either be a personal ID or a Citizen OS user ID, depending on how the vote was cast.
Why we protect anonymity during the vote.
At Citizen OS we believe that not voting can be a means of expressing opinion. For example, if someone does not agree with the question or the options available to vote upon, they may actively decide not to vote. If the vote administrator tries to incite them to vote, this could deprive them of their freedom to express their views through not voting. Such information is kept confidential in national votes for the same reason.
In Estonia, when votes are cast using digital signatures, what file formats and data will I be able to download?
When someone votes with a digital signature in Estonia, the topic administrator can download the voting results as a BDOC file containing the data below.
BDOC container (‘Final.bdoc’) contents:
- document.docx - a file with the text from the topic description (not including attachments),
- __metainfo.html - a metadata file that contains the topic ID and vote ID,
- .html files with the names of the vote options, containing the option ID and text,
- each user's vote containers,
- an optional CSV file*.
A CSV file is a comma-separated values file, which presents data in a tabular format. Each voter has a separate line in the table, which shows the date and time they voted, their name, their personal identification code, the options they voted for and the file name of each option they voted for.
Here is an example of a line in a vote CSV file:
Thu Jan 21 2021 13:51:07 GMT + 0200 (Eastern European Standard Time), PNOEE-112233444, JAAK ERVIN SINGLE-GATE, "Two, Three", "Two.html, Three.html"
In Estonia, when submitting digital signatures to the Commercial Register, Riigikogu or local government, what file types should I download?
The Commercial Register only accepts BDOC containers that do not contain CSV files. “Container without CSV” should therefore be selected when downloading the signature files. The entire BDOC container should then be submitted to the Commercial Register.
When submitting digital signatures to the Riigikogu or local government, “Container with CSV” must be selected. The entire BDOC container should then be submitted.
Can I see if any of the email addresses I invited to a group or topic bounced?
No, if you send an invitation to an email address which does not exist the system will not notify you.
So before inviting users to a group or topic, make sure that the email addresses you have entered are correct and in use.
Please also check that you have entered all email addresses in the correct format (i.e. “hello@email” rather than “firstname.lastname@example.org”). Otherwise the system will not accept it, and the invite will not be sent.
You can view which invites have been sent by selecting the relevant topic or group in the “My topics” or “My Groups” page, then clicking on “User list” underneath the “General information” box. However, non-existent email addresses will be included here as “Pending”, as the system cannot recognise that they are incorrect.
What is the maximum attachment size that can be uploaded, and what file types are allowed?
The permitted file attachments are as follows:
- The maximum size of a single attachment in a topic is 50 MB.
- A maximum of 10 files can be attached to one topic.
- Acceptable file types are: 'txt', 'pdf', 'doc', 'docx', 'ddoc', 'bdoc', 'odf', 'odt', 'jpg', 'jpeg', 'img', 'png', 'rtf', 'xls', 'xlsx', 'ppt', 'pptx', 'pps',' xlt'.
In what situations does the Citizen OS platform send out automatic email notifications to users?
Emails notifications are automatically sent in the three following situations:
- When a person is added to a group, they will receive an invitation email. (We therefore recommend posting at least one topic in the group before adding people, as being invited to an empty group can cause confusion.)
- When a person is invited to a topic, they will receive an invitation email.
- When a new topic is added to a group, an invitation email will be sent to all existing group members.
There are no notifications in any other situations. For example, if you send a topic to vote, you will need to contact the topic participants yourself to let them know that they can start voting.
Why can't I log in through Internet Explorer?
Citizen OS does not support logins through Internet Explorer as it is an out-of-date browser and more reliable browsers are available for free, such as Chrome or Firefox.
Microsoft themselves will soon cease to support Internet Explorer, and have already started redirecting users to their newer browser, Edge.
How does Citizen OS fund itself if the platform is free?
In the six years since its inception, Citizen OS's sources of revenue have been project-based grants and private donations.
The majority of our running costs so far have been covered by a private philanthropist who is well-known in the Estonian technology field.
Looking ahead, revenues from service fees, additional private donations and some additional paid features on the platform are possibilities we are exploring for the future.
However, Citizen OS is and will always remain a social enterprise, meaning that it will remain non-profit oriented, and should profits ever be generated they will be reinvested into the organisation and the pursuit of our mission.