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Creators: Sean Gillies
Contributors: Tom Elliott
Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Feb 11, 2013 02:28 PM
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Concerning Pleiades and your privacy

Dear Pleiades Participants,

The Pleiades project respects your personal privacy and aspires to complete transparency about its policies. The state of privacy on the Web is dynamic, but is more simple here. The Pleiades site has no true private spaces. The sole mission of Pleiades is to organize public information about the ancient world. Organizing private or proprietary information is not part of the mission. It has quiet spaces, and a workflow that restricts access to drafting-state contents mainly to prevent confusion, but there's no absolute right to privacy at Pleiades. You do have an absolute right to make informed decisions about your privacy and we hope that this document provides you with all the information you need to do so.

Domains and hosts

The site originates from the domain and is proxied through the domain. Each of these are registered and hosted in the United States and are subject to its laws. The domain is registered to and administered by the Stoa Consortium and hosted by the University of Kentucky. The domain is registered to and administered by the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at NYU and hosted by, Ltd.

Review and permissions

Unlike Wikipedia, Pleiades employs a review process to give academic researchers more confidence in the quality and stability of resources. Contents can be in one of three states: drafting, pending, and published. The public (and this includes web crawlers) has permission to interact only with published-state content. Likewise, our regular data "dumps" contain only published-state information.

User accounts

All users of the site have a profile page. Mine is We require your real name and it is displayed on this profile page, as well as on the web pages generated from any Pleiades information resources which you have added or to which you have contributed. We do not display your email address. On your profile page is a listing of site content that you've created, filtered by the sharing settings associated with each. Anonymous visitors to the site see only see published-state content. Logged in users might see other content that you've shared with them. All users of the site have also a personal folder. Mine is at and you will notice that, as for everyone, sharing of this folder is disabled by default.

The fact of a user's membership is not private. In other words, we do not ensure that your name will not appear on published-state, public web pages or in the results of searches for such content. In fact, we do advertise the duration and level of your participation rather loudly on our credits page. We also cannot ensure that unpublished content you have shared with other users does not leak from the site via email, screenshots, etc. created by other members. Please be conscious of what and with whom you share.

Pleiades managers are the only ones who can legitimately access another user's account. The only time we exercise this ability is in case of emergency, such as helping you change a password. Logging into the site using your credentials without your explicit permission is something we do not and will not ever do.

Adding or editing any Pleiades content requires that you log in and that requires browser cookies (as with many other sites). You can browse Pleiades anonymously with cookies disabled. We've also verified that the site is accessible with the Tor browser.

What Pleiades tracks

Pleiades uses 4 different browser cookies to support session state and user interface features like content copy and paste.

Pleiades logs all requests and errors occurring during requests. Usernames do appear in these logs. We do monitor the logs and analyze them to improve performance and respond to problematic requests (spammers, bots, attacks), but they are not accessible to web crawlers or third parties other than appropriate staff members of ISAW and, Ltd. as necessary to perform maintenance and troubleshooting.

Affiliated sites

Pleiades is affiliated with four other services and sites that may affect your privacy.

We use Google Analytics on Pleiades pages. This service uses browser cookies. If you are logged in to Gmail or another Google site while browsing Pleiades, then Google is potentially tracking your personal use of Pleiades. Please see also and for discussions of Google's privacy policy.

We use the Google Maps API on Pleiades place pages and this introduces cookies from If your browser is configured to share location with services, your location is potentially tracked, but otherwise this adds no additional privacy concerns to those above.

We use Google Groups for announcements and discussion of the project. In addition to the above, the group's archive of posts is public.

We use Flickr images in Pleiades places and this introduces cookies from Flickr and Yahoo.

Privacy Tools

There are a number of different lists and introductions to online privacy tools. is one. In analyzing privacy matters for Pleiades, I have used Mozilla Collusion: Collusion is a Firefox browser plugin that alerts you to the sites that track you as you browse the web. Below is a screenshot I've made from a session beginning with a visit to and then to a single place page. The circle with the halo represents the domain. The gray circle below represents the domain, from which the Pleiades site and its cookies originate. The other circles represent the Flickr and Google tracking explained above.

Third party tracking of home and place pages

Getting out

If you desire, we can delete your user account, delete your author profile, delete your personal folder, and delete your drafting-state or pending-state work. Whether or not to delete the published-state content you've created or to which you've contributed – or to anonymize its authorship – is, however, an editorial decision.

Thank you again for participating in Pleiades. Your trust is everything to us. Feedback on our privacy policy and this statement thereof is very welcome. Inquiries may be directed to


Sean Gillies

Chief Engineer and Managing Editor