Privacy Policy#

Last updated: 17 Sep 2022

Alpine Mathematics (“we”, “us”, “our”) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the accessibility and appreciation of mathematics and its history. This Privacy Policy (“Policy”) lets you know about the types of information we collect through PISE Online (the “Site”, or the “Service”), and what we do with that information. In particular, we want you to know that we do not sell your personal information to anyone.

The nature of our services#

The purpose of this section is to make clear what PISE Online is, and what type of service Alpine Mathematics is offering, as its operator. This section also introduces key terms.

PISE Online is essentially a browsing, indexing, and note recording service. We explain what these terms mean below.

Our Service is not essentially about making content available, because any content you load through our Service must already be available in the form of a code repository hosted at GitHub, BitBucket, or another such provider (hereinafter, “Code Repository Hosting Provider” or “CRHP”). We receive and distribute the content under the same license under which it is offered as a code repository.

Instead, our Service is about helping you study such content.

Specifically, the content you study at our Site comes from Proofscape repositories (“repos”). The code in these repos is written in the Proofscape language, and defines two types of entities, called Deductions (diagrams of mathematical proofs) and Annotations (textual discussion and commentary on the proofs). Collectively, we refer to Deductions and Annotations as “Articles”.

The Proofscape language also defines a feature called a Goal Box. An Article may contain any number of Goal Boxes, each of which represents a study goal. When browsing an Article, you can place a checkmark on a Goal Box in order to signify to yourself that you have reached the goal it represents. You can also record free-form notes on a Goal Box, such as to remind yourself of some ideas or questions associated with the goal. We refer to your collection of check marks and free-form notes as your “Study Notes”.

The main components of our Service then are:

  • Browsing: Through the Site, you can load Articles from Proofscape repos. You are able to load both the textual and graphical displays they generate, and their source code form.

  • Indexing: We maintain a database of links between Articles, and we enrich the Articles with these links. Linked Articles may belong to the same or different repos. This makes it so that, for example, when browsing a Deduction diagram, you can easily discover that there is an Annotation that talks about this Deduction, or that there is another Deduction that expands on the first one. You are then able to easily load and browse the linked Articles.

    • Indexing-by-Request: As a subservice of our indexing Service, we offer logged-in users of our Site the ability to lodge a formal request that we index one of their own Proofscape repos. If you make an indexing request, and we grant your request, this has the effect of adding links to our database, so that anyone browsing Articles at our Site may easily discover links to and from your repo.

  • Note Recording: We offer an optional service called Server-Side Note Recording (SSNR). If you log into our Site, you may then opt into the SSNR service. When SSNR is activated, your Study Notes are recorded for you in our database. This makes it so that the next time you return to an Article, your notes and checkmarks are restored to the state in which you left them (provided you are logged into the same account).

A note about sign-ins#

Sign-ins (or log-ins) to PISE Online are always mediated by an OAuth provider, (“OAuth Provider” or “OAP”) which must also be a Code Repository Hosting Provider. GitHub is an example of such a provider, and from time to time we may extend (or in extremely rare cases shorten) the list of providers we support.

Providing us with an OAuth log-in from a CRHP is how you prove to us that you own certain code repositories. We use this information to help us decide whether to allow you to take certain actions relative to these repositories, at our Site.

What information do we collect, and how do we use it?#

Username and email address#

When you log into our Site via an OAuth Provider which is also a CRHP, we record the username, and the primary, verified email address we obtain from the OAuth Provider.

We will use this email address if we need to contact you for any reason. If you do not have a verified email address with the OAuth Provider, you cannot log into our Site.

We use your username to determine your ownership of code repositories at the CRHP. This helps us decide whether to let you request indexing of these repositories at our Site.

Organization ownership#

CRHPs typically provide not just for individual user accounts, but also for “organization” accounts. These may sometimes be known under other names, such as “workspaces”. CRHPs also typically distinguish between different roles users can take relative to organizations, such as “ownership” or “controlling” roles, as opposed to mere “membership” or “participating” roles.

If you choose, when you log into our Site via an OAuth Provider that is also a CRHP, you can ask us to verify your organization ownership. In this case we will request additional information from the Provider, from which we can determine the list of all organization names for which you have an ownership or controlling role, and we will record this list of organization names.

Like your username, this list of organization names lets us determine your ownership of code repositories at the CRHP, and helps us decide whether to let you request indexing of these repositories at our Site.

Indexing requests#

Indexing requests, sometimes also known as “hosting requests”, are the formal procedure whereby you request that we index a Proofscape repo you own.

When you make an indexing request, you tell us the name of the repository, and the version number at which you would like it to be indexed. You also have an opportunity to write free-form comments, as part of the request.

All this information, as well as your email address, will be emailed to the people (officers of Alpine Mathematics, or other members of the mathematical community who have agreed to act as reviewers) whose job it is to review such requests, and decide whether or not to grant them. Your email address is sent to them so that they can get in touch with you directly.

Study Notes#

If you choose to record check marks and free-form notes on Goal Boxes as you study, these Study Notes may be transferred to and/or recorded by us, under various circumstances.

Markdown rendering#

Your free-form notes can be written in a variant of Markdown syntax called Proofscape-flavored Markdown. The rendering process that translates this syntax into HTML takes place on the server, so your Notes are sent to the server to be transformed and sent back to you.

Study Page generation#

The PISE software lets you request what we call Study Pages. A Study Page is a special Annotation that can be generated to assemble all your current Study Notes on any given Article. Again, rendering takes place on the server, so your Notes are sent to the server to be transformed and sent back to you.

Server-Side Note Recording#

If you log into the Site, you have the ability to opt into the Server-Side Note Recording (SSNR) service. When this is activated, your Study Notes will be sent immediately to the server as soon as you enter them in your browser, and they will be recorded in our database. This makes it so that the next time you return to an Article, your notes and checkmarks are restored to the state in which you left them (provided you are logged into the same account).

You can de-activate SSNR at any time, and then re-activate it again later, without deleting existing Notes we have already recorded for you. While SSNR is de-activated, new Notes are not recorded in our database; however, they may still be transmitted to us for rendering, as explained in the sections above.

You also have the ability to request a downloadable export, in machine-readable format, of the complete collection of notes we have recorded for you using SSNR, and the ability to tell us to delete all your SSNR notes from our database. See also the section below on Your Rights.

Your activity#

When you use our Site, the mere operation of the PISE web app requires making many requests to our servers. Such requests are involved with almost any action taken in the app, such as opening Deductions and Annotations, for example. All such requests are logged by our servers for the purposes of diagnosing system errors, improving the performance and design of the app, and, in rare cases, blocking disruptive users.

Device and browser information#

Our servers log the standard sorts of information that are automatically sent by devices and web browsers, such as your IP address, and the name of your browsing software. Again, we use this information for the purposes of diagnosing system errors, improving the performance and design of the app, and, in rare cases, blocking disruptive users.

Who do we share your information with?#

Hosting request reviewers#

As explained above in the section on Indexing requests, when you make an indexing request, your email address and the information describing the request is sent to the reviewers, so that they can get in touch with you directly.

The reviewers are either officers of Alpine Mathematics, or volunteers.

Cloud infrastructure providers#

We use cloud infrastructure providers (such as Amazon Web Services) to support most of our Services. Our cloud providers do such things as: manage our databases (including backups and maintenance), deliver our emails, and run the nodes on which our webserver software operates.

Therefore, unavoidably, your personal data exists on, and runs through, cloud infrastructure. However, this is not a “data sharing” relationship, and all our cloud providers are subject to data processing agreements that require them to keep your data safe, and not to use your data for their own purposes.

Content delivery networks (CDNs)#

To help our web pages load faster, and keep our servers ready to handle the part they do best, we use standard content delivery networks (such as jsdelivr) to serve many of the static files that make our web pages work. When you visit our pages, your browser will fetch certain resources over these CDNs, and the operators of these networks will have access to the same information described above under Device and browser information.

OAuth providers#

As explained above in the section, “A note about sign-ins,” any time you sign into our Site, this is achieved through a third-party OAuth Provider. When you sign in to our Site using an OAuth Provider, you provide your authentication information to them. The OAuth Provider’s use of this information is governed by their privacy policy, not ours.

Change of control#

In the event that Alpine Mathematics merged with or transferred control of the Site to another organization, that organization would be able to access your information under the terms of this Privacy Policy.

How long do we keep your information?#

We keep your information for as long as necessary to achieve the purposes described in this Policy. At one end of the spectrum, we endeavor to keep your Study Notes for you until you tell us to change or delete them (with possible exceptions such as changing the amount of available storage – see our Terms of Service). At the opposite end of the spectrum, routine server logs are maintained just long enough to achieve the purposes like system maintenance and error resolution they support.

Where do we keep your information?#

All your information is kept on cloud infrastructure in data centers located in the United States.

Do Not Track (DNT) signals#

We believe that the ways in which we use your personal information, as described in this Policy, are already consistent with an effort not to unnecessarily track you in any way. Therefore we do not modify our behavior in response to DNT signals from your browser or other devices.

Your Rights#

You have rights regarding the deletion, correction, and export of your personal data. You can also object to the processing of your personal data.

In most cases, the most straightforward way for you to exercise these rights is through the Site itself. Through the account settings dialog, accessible through the user menu in the PISE web app, you are able to request any of the following actions:

  • a complete export of your Study Notes, in a convenient data format;

  • a complete export of all your account information;

  • the complete deletion of all your Study Notes; and

  • the complete deletion of your account, including Study Notes and all other account data.

Under ordinary circumstances, these capabilities should cover just about any data request you might wish to make. If you need to make a data request not covered by these capabilities, you may contact us at


From time to time we may need to make updates to this Policy. When we make significant changes (but not necessarily for mere corrections of typos and other small changes), we will notify you about the update through the Site. Whenever the Policy is updated, you must either agree to the terms of the new version of the Policy, or else discontinue your use of the Site.


If you need to get in touch with us about this Privacy Policy, you can reach us at