Configuring Filters for Unofficial Data Sources

Joeli Katz
Joeli Katz
  • Updated

"Unofficial" data sources are those that are not owned/managed by your organization. They can include news outlets, non-governmental organizations, citizen groups, service providers, and anything in between (for guidance on finding unofficial sources, see this Help Center article).

When you are adding sources to the platform, many unofficial sources must be configured using filters. When filters are applied, only the posts from those sources that are matching the filters will appear in your organic dashboard. This is especially important for news outlets and regional organizations. Let's review how to apply the correct filters to your unofficial sources and avoid bringing in discourse unrelated to your organization.


What Filters to Consider

For Cities

  • The name of the city 
  • The name of the mayor (or equivalent)
  • The names of city council members (or equivalent)
  • Any unique nicknames for the city
  • Any hashtags unique to the city
  • Any unique terms that would only be used in discourse relevant to the city (for example, a unique name for an initiative or campaign the city is running)

For Counties

  • The name of the county
  • The name of the county executive (or equivalent)
  • The names of county supervisors (or equivalent)
  • Any unique nicknames for the county
  • Any hashtags unique to the county
  • Any unique terms that would only be used in discourse relevant to the county (for example, a unique name for an initiative or campaign the county is running)
  • The names of cities/towns/areas within the county

For Cities/Counties With "Problematic" Names

By "problematic names," we mean names that are common person names or words (we're talking to you, Phoenix, Savannah, Commerce...)

Instead of inserting the name of the city or county alone, include a list of phrases such as:

  • "City of [X]"
  • "[X] City"
  • "County of [X]"
  • "[X] County"
  • "[X] Mayor"
  • "[X] Council"
  • "[X] Councilmember"
  • "[X] Police"
  • "[X] PD"
  • "[X] Fire"
  • "[X] FD"
  • "[X] Resident"
  • "[X] Residents"
  • "[X] Parks"
  • "[X] Public"
  • "[X] Housing"
  • "[X] Homeless"
  • "[X] Community"
  • "[X] Department"
  • "[X] Health"
  • "[X] Officials"
  • "[X] Office"
  • "[X] Commission"
  • "[X] Commissioner"
  • "[X] Commissioners"
  • "[X] Emergency"
  • "[X] Man"
  • "[X] Woman"
  • "[X] Business"
  • "[X] Supervisor"
  • "[X] Supervisors"
  • "[X] District"
  • "[X] Board"
  • "[X] Sheriff"

You can also use the "Don't show these" section make sure that common uses of your city or county's name that are irrelevant to you will definitely be blocked from your dashboard. Here's an example for Phoenix:


What Filters to Avoid

Remember that every post from the data source that matches one of the filters will be imported and visible on your dashboard. Therefore, make sure the filters are specific to your organization, and ONLY to your organization, but not too specific as to miss relevant discourse. 

Too General

  • General urban terms (example: the word "city" alone," the word "mayor" alone, etc.)
  • General department/agency names without the name of the city/county (example: "Department of Health")

Too Specific

  • The full city and state name or abbreviation (example: "Houston, TX") - most posts on social media will probably just mention Houston, not necessarily "Houston, TX"
  • The city's name and mayor's name together (example: "New York City Mayor Eric Adams") - posts on social media might mention "New York City Mayor" or "Mayor Eric Adams," for example, but these would be missed if the data source was only filtered to include the full phrase "New York City Mayor Eric Adams

Enter one search term per blue box

You may enter as many keywords or phrases as you would like, but make sure each gets its own blue box. You should NEVER type out the words "AND" or "OR" or use commas (unless they are part of a phrase that you're looking for). In the example below, I'm looking for mentions of "New York City" or "Eric Adams" or "Mayor Adams" or "City of New York." Every post from the source that includes one of the phrases will be imported into the dashboard.



TIP: If you are adding a bunch of new data sources that require filters or you would like to edit the filters on a bunch of data sources, please reach out to our Support team and we can bulk add/edit them for you so you don't have to repeat this process one at a time. Reach out to the Support team if you have questions or need configuring your data sources with the best filters. 


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