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Restore the lighting, fix the elevator, take out the rubbish, repair the road sign – these are just some of the problems that the Our City portal will help to solve. Each of the portal’s employees processes about 500 requests from Muscovites every day.

In October 2021, the portal “Our town”celebrates its first anniversary – 10 years. During this time, almost two million Muscovites have become participants in the project. The requests that come from them to the portal are read not by robots, but by living people. It is they who send requests and complaints to the relevant authorities, wait for an answer, and rejoice when they manage to solve the problem. Over the past 10 years, more than 5.2 million issues have been resolved through the Our City portal. Read about what the residents of the capital write about on the Our City portal, how the moderators of the site help them, what changes have occurred over the 10 years of its operation – see the report.

Moderation rules

From the windows of the office of the portal “Our City” you can see merchant mansions in the Art Nouveau style, constructivist buildings of associations of the early twentieth century, fashionable restaurants and modern highways. However, the employees of the portal have no time to watch the changes on the street. Their monitors show their own movement, which requires special attention.

“Moderators process user messages and responses from authorities and organizations. A single editorial office works every day, training of employees and analysis of incoming applications is carried out in parallel. About a third of employees are now working remotely because of the pandemic, “says Anastasia Kartashova, deputy head of the unified editorial office of the Our City portal.

Employees practically do not look up from their computer screens: requests from Muscovites are in a continuous stream. It is necessary to study each message and first determine whether it complies with the uniform rules of moderation.

“It is important that the message is stated in essence: the correct address of the house is indicated, what happened is described. Moreover, you need to choose the right topic from eight categories. Threats and obscene language must be excluded. It is impossible for one appeal to talk about several problems on different topics, otherwise we will not be able to send such a complaint or request to a specific authority. After all, after publishing on the site, the smart system itself chooses which organization to send the message to, depending on the selected object and the fixed problem. It is this process that allows us to eliminate the bulk of the problems in a timely manner, ”explains Anastasia Kartashova.

If one of the users has violated the uniform rules of moderation, a notification is sent to the personal account and by e-mail about the reason for the rejection of the message.

By the way, the same rules apply to government officials. “It happens that we get a short answer from the higher structures:“ We will fix it in three weeks ”. In such cases, we demand an explanation of why such a long period. Perhaps you need to purchase material or wait for favorable weather conditions. A resident has the right to know all the details, ”the interlocutor adds.

The moderator also checks whether the photo that the user attached to his message is suitable for the problem. Sometimes it takes one minute to understand whether a request complies with the uniform moderation rules. But it happens that it takes a lot longer. Portal employees have to study additional documents, regulations or consult with senior colleagues. In any case, within a day, the appeal must be published on the website and sent to the appropriate authorities or rejected.

The requests that have passed through the filter of the moderators go to the site, after which it remains to wait for a response. The deadline for its provision is eight working days, however, according to statistics, every second problem is solved in one or two days. After the publication of the answer, the user receives information and, using his personal account, monitors the progress of the problem and the quality of the work performed.

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Find a solution

According to the portal’s staff, the largest influx of calls occurs during the rainy season, since the roads are flooded at this time. In winter, due to frost and snow, there are many reports of snow blockages and ice accumulation, and on hot summer days, Muscovites report inadequate lawn maintenance. The most common topics are uncleaned debris, holes, and faulty lighting.

“In addition, we often receive emotional or non-standard requests. Somehow a snake crawled into the entrance of a residential building. Animals are not in our competence, but we promptly transmitted information, since the residents were in real danger. As a result, the snake was caught, ”recalls Anastasia Kartashova.

Some Muscovites make typos in their addresses that only a person can detect. There was a case when a user wanted to write “please understand the situation”, but missed the letter: it turned out to “go broke”.

Another time a resident of the capital sent an application … in verse. This work was preserved by the portal staff: “The Ministry of Emergency Situations warned that there will be wind, there will be a squall. And so our sign went limp under the gusts. And there will be a slap on the ground. ” “We took the risk of publishing a poem. And, imagine, they also answered us with poetry! ” – laughs Anastasia Kartashova.

There are difficult situations. For example, the dispatching office of a polyclinic canceled a doctor’s home call. “Our task is to figure it out, and not to blame the clinic or answer the user:“ Sorry, it happened, ”” say the staff of the united editorial office.

Sometimes moderators are forced to reject an application. So, once a user asked to find and return to the entrance of the “fairy cleaning lady”, who unexpectedly quit. Another time a Muscovite wished to install a fountain in his yard. Our City cannot fulfill such a request: the fountain is not an obligatory part of the infrastructure, unlike, for example, urns.

Full speed ahead

Many moderators, old-timers of Our City, have been working on the portal for five or more years. Everyone explains their decision not to change their place of work in the same way: “I like helping people, solving complex problems, improving my hometown”.

They don’t notice the routine. From their point of view, no day is the same. The portal is always in motion, like Moscow itself.

So, Elena Perova has been working here as a senior moderator since its foundation – 10 years!

“I am fortunate to have contributed to the development of the portal. It was scary at first. Apart from me, only four employees worked. There was no one to spy on, there were no analogues. I felt a special responsibility. I consider “Our City” my business. If I suddenly left, I would not know how the site and the city are changing with it, ”says Elena.

According to her, over the past 10 years, Muscovites have become more conscious: “They understand that the portal is not a fence, you need to write in essence.”

Over the years, the site has been technically improved, the list of available problematic topics has been significantly expanded, and the authorities and various organizations have been involved as persons responsible for eliminating problems.

At first, applications related only to the state of the courtyards were accepted, and today 225 topics are available on the portal. Recently, for example, it became possible to complain about advertising inscriptions on sidewalks, dangerously protruding elements (cables, fittings), incomplete dismantling of garages, poor-quality maintenance of the territories of state institutions, improper maintenance of attics and basements.

The Our City team never ceases to develop the functionality of the portal. On a regular basis, new problematic topics will appear, including those available to residents of the Troitsky and Novomoskovsky administrative areas.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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