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Kandinsky WordPress theme

A new website creation framework ‘Kandinsky‘ has just been released as a WordPress theme by our friends from «Теплица социальных технологий» (Greenhouse for Social Technologies) in response to needs expressed by civil society groups. The free and open source release on Github offers three templates for installation and guides website creators with helpful tips and check lists. We spoke with Alexey, director of the Greenhouse for Social Technologies about their new release:

eQ: What can you tell us about this new theme?

Alexey: Any organization can use it. It’s free and open source. Having said this, it was created with NGOs and public initiatives in mind. It’s not just a customizable WordPress theme. It also contains pre-made content created to address typical challenges that NGOs face on a regular basis. In particular, NGOs, at least in Russia, usually have difficulties with composing content. Therefore, Kandinsky not only fulfills the role of a theme but also of a checklist of what content should be on an NGO website. There are three templates for different use cases (soon, however, we plan to use only one but greatly improve its ability to be customized). Each template contains test content (news, reports, teams, photos from events, description of activities). Based on NGOs’ best practices, we’ve invented three non-existent organizations in order to fill these templates with content that makes sense in the NGO context.

eQ: What motivated you to create it? Was there a real-life use case that drove this initiative?

Alexey: The need came from our own experience – as an organization we help NGO’s with digital communication and we needed some reliable and modern framework that would be fast and easy to install (now, after 8 minutes, the Installation Wizard has a website up and running). We just wanted to help the organizations have something decent on WordPress and not pay anyone or worry constantly that someone might commercialize the theme. Also, we needed it ourselves for 2 kinds of tasks: side-projects and events. Sometimes we launch a hackathon or a series of online webinars and we wanted a dedicated site – we wanted something that could be set up easily, customizable, and had everything we might need. And so we did it. We adhere to the principle ‘eat your own dog food’ and any event web page or side event we build now is based on Kandinsky which saves us lots of time and effort. We stopped considering website creation a budget line.

eQ: What are these new features?

Alexey: Originally, key values of Kandinsky were simplicity, ease of installation, and responsiveness to NGO’s needs. As we’ve learned, we realized that aside from being able to install the theme in a few seconds and have plug-ins ready as well as pre-made content, customization is of key importance. People are annoyed having the same Ford Model “T” in any color given it’s black, to quote famous inventor Henry Ford. They need to set up a website and then make it unlike any other website in a few minutes.

Therefore, freedom of customization is the most important development line now. In the last year, we’ve added:

  • over 100 Google Fonts to choose from
  • customizable header with the ability to turn on/off different elements inside (logo, phone number, links to social networks, etc.), which creates multitude of different options
  • customizable footer

Our next milestone is turning the main page of a website to a Gutenberg block editor (now the main page can be freely edited with the help of a less versatile tool) and then – to the new WordPress system called Full Site Editing.

Deflect clients can create a new eQpress site with the Kandinsky theme by going to the ‘Hosting tab’ in the Deflect Dashboard and selecting to pre-load the installation with this theme.

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Blog Deflect News from Deflect Labs

Updates from Deflect – January 2021

Giant leaps in our machine-lead mitigation tooling have removed some of the heavy load in mitigating attacks from our support team this month. We’re very pleased with the machine’s performance but it won’t replace the humans! Below, we share some traffic highlights, Deflect relevant events and stories from our clients.

January Traffic

Throughout the month of January, Deflect served over 884 million requests to more than 9 million unique readers around the world. Much of the traffic was bound for Los Danieles – a new and very popular independent media publication in Colombia. Every Sunday, their website attracts between 5 and 9 million legitimate hits! Thankfully, Deflect was able to serve over 94% of these requests directly from its edge cache.

Content served from Deflect cache

Another notable traffic event this month coincided with the release of an online report, investigating torture of thousands of Belarus protesters at the hands of the incumbent government forces. Published by the renowned Committee Against Torture, this is a visual investigation, suitable for mature audiences only.

Notable Attacks in January

Sixteen distinct attacks were recorded against Deflect protected websites this month. Of these, five were notable for their strength and consistency, with two attacks continuing over a four-day period. The largest attack, with over 5000 bots participating, was targeting the Vietnamese independent new site Tiếng Dân. This is not the first time their website has been targeted. Approximately half of the attacking bots were discovered and challenged by Baskerville, whilst the other half were blocked by our manual rule sets. Overall, Deflect maintained 100% network up-time in January.

Kandinsky theme options for eQpress

Deflect clients who run or would like to migrate to our secure WordPress hosting platform can now request the installation of a new theme called Kandinsky. Developed by our friends at «Теплица социальных технологий» (Greenhouse for Social Technology) in response to needs expressed by civil society groups, wishing to have an effective and well designed online presence Kandinsky offers three templates and guides website creators with helpful tips and check lists. You can read our full interview with Kandinsky here.

Deflect and the World Social Forum

On January 29th, Deflect staff participated in a live panel during the World Social Forum together with our partners Colnodo and the Foundation for Freedom of the Press (FLIP). Julian Casasbuenas from Colnodo presented the use case of a Colombian independent media site losdanieles.com as an example of Deflect protection and its importance to the development of free journalistic expression in Colombia. The losdanieles.com project was launched by a group of highly reputable journalists who had been implicated in the Colombian parapolitics scandal.

To finish this newsletter, we wanted to share a lovely thank-you video sent to us by LosDanieles.com columnist Daniel Samper Ospina.

Find the Daniels on Twitter @DanielSamperO, @DanielsamperP and @DCoronell

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Who Uses Deflect

Sea-Watch

Domain:Human rights
Based in:
URL:https://sea-watch.org
Protected:
About:Saving thousands of lives in the Mediterranean Sea is a duty that the Sea Watch crew has consistently taken on, even when governments have not. https://sea-watch.org conducts civil search and rescue operations and publicly advocates for legal escape routes and freedom of movement.
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Colectivo de Derechos Humanos “Nicaragua Nunca +”

Domain:Human rights
Based in:Nicaragua
URL:https://colectivodhnicaragua.org
Protected:Since 2020
About:Since the 2018 protest in Nicaragua, Colectivo Nunca has been documenting human rights violations and systemic repression. They continue to support citizens’ rights to dissent and self organize.
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Articulo 19 MX-CA

Domain:Human rights
Based in:Mexico and Central America
URL:https://articulo19.org
Protected:Since 2020
About:By empowering communities in Mexico and Central America to demand their rights and participate in decision making processes, Articulo 19 helps strengthens social justice, freedom of expression, and access to information in these areas.
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Los Danieles

Domain:Media and Human rights
Based in:Columbia
URL:https://losdanieles.com
Protected:Since 2020
About:A critical medium of Colombian reality, Los Danieles regularly attracts over a million daily readers since their launch in April when Daniel Coronell, Daniel Samper Pizano, and Daniel Samper Ospina began publishing their articles there.
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META.mk

Domain:Media
Based in:Balkan
URL:https://meta.mk
Protected:Since 2014
About:Since 2014, Мета – новинска агенција has been bridging a segmented Balkan media scene by producing data-driven journalism in Macedonian, Albanian, English (and occasionally in Bulgarian, Serbian, and Greek) – stimulating citizens’ perception of political processes.
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Northern Dispatch

Domain:Media
Based in:Philippines
URL:https://nordis.net
Protected:
About:Through the years, Northern Dispatch has weathered countless forms of attacks, including virulent cyberattacks targeting https://nordis.net. Since 1989, this alternative media in Philippines has been committed to telling stories that matter to the Northern Luzon people.
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Criterio.hn

Domain:Media
Based in:Honduras
URL:https://criterio.hn
Protected:Since 2017
About:Launched in 2015, Criterio.hn became one of the leading online newspapers in Honduras providing verified facts, transparency, and investigative journalism to the public. The https://criterio.hn website reaches half a million visitors monthly.
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Open Archive

Domain:Internet tools
Based in:
URL:https://open-archive.org/
Protected:Since 2020
About:Now, more than ever, capturing media on mobile phones plays a key role in exposing global injustice. Save, by Open Archive, helps individuals around the world find better ways to securely store and share the critical evidence they’ve captured.