Commons:Administrators/Requests/Rama (de-adminship)

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Thee request has been deemed inadmissible by bureaucrat Kanonkas // talk // e-mail // on the ground that it's premature at this time. Other processes/channels should be sought and have failed before initiating a desysop request. Therefore, this request is closed as inadmissible.


Rama (talk · contributions · deleted user contributions · recent activity · logs · block log · global contribs · SULinfo)

although de-adminships are so rare that no other examples seem to exist, I feel this example merits the use of the terms set out in Commons:Administrators/De-adminship

After discussion with other users and administrators, I feel User:Rama has consistently misused his sysop tools to try and perform w:Damnatio memoriae on files he finds personally objectionable, not because of copyright concerns, but because they show the "enemy" in the w:War on Terror. Some of the files he deleted were tagged with {{Archive-Mujahideen}}, others were tagged with {{PD-Afghanistan}}, some were even US Gov't photos - it doesn't seem to have made any difference, if they showed Taliban members, they were deleted. Other users complained about the same treatment, again, only with files showing Taliban members or victories.

When he unilaterally deleted all images from insurgent sources that had been released into the public domain, he was repeatedly chided by admins such as User:Yann, User:Tryphon and User:Multichill for failing to raise his concerns on talk pages, notify uploaders, or start proper deletion requests. He continued, even after the warning, to simply delete such files as he found them without a word of explanation. When he was requested to restore the images and open proper deletion requests, he refused. When other users opened deletion requests on files relating to the War on Terror, even when the request was closed as "Consensus:Keep", he went back and unilaterally deleted the images saying that the closing admin was wrong to keep them. The one DR he came across before it had closed (though still with zero delete votes) he opted to close as "delete" rather than cast a vote. So it closed, with one vote, his own.

For examples; see

Commons:Deletion requests/Image:GSPC-AQIM in Algeria from as-Sahab video.PNG and Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Kunar-looting-body-1.OGG (both closed as Keep with 100% keep votes, months after the DR, Rama came and deleted the files anyways without notifying uploader, starting a new request, etc)

Commons:Undeletion_requests/Archive/2009-10, issue raised in September when he first deleted 17 files showing Taliban insurgents without DR/talkPage/notifyingUploader. All were restored upon review, and he was chastised

Although he was unrepentant, and defiant when asked to retract his actions and undelete the files himself, saying he refused to do so; the issue lay at rest until this morning when he returned to his ways of unilaterally declaring war on the Taliban by deleting any image he found of them, in this case, File:Taliban in southern Afghanistan 10-12-06.jpg - a photo uploaded two years ago, properly using the {{PD-USGov-VOA}} template, and was used properly on 4 articles for the past two years, garnering ~1000 views each day. Nearly a half a million people saw the image and thought it was appropriate, Rama disagreed. And rather than start a Deletion Request, notify the uploader or use a talkpage to raise his concerns, he simply deleted it and tried to make it disappear from the project entirely.

Attempts to engage the user in constructive dialogue have been met by silence, stonewalling or defiance, and since he has not ceased his destructive self-serving use of sysop tools months after the issue was raised with him - I think we are left with no alternative but to strip the privilege of those tools.

Sherurcij (talk) 17:25, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

  • Remove adminship. This is clearly a case of misusing admin rights. Rama deleted many images without a proper procedure, without informing the uploader, without a real justification, and even against the conclusion of a deletion request, just because he doesn't like the images. His reasons are just lame excuses. Beside running a show against copyright violations, Rama does really little to help cleaning the huge backlog of real copyright violations we have on Commons. Removing his adminiship won't arm the project, but it will help Commons as it is sometimes seen as a place where administrators delete files as they wish. Yann (talk) 17:38, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Wow, and that out of the fingers of the admin who likes to keep images against the conclusion of a deletion request and deciding in cases where he participated the discussion and/or uploaded the images. If I would have the time currently, I would now go through your deletion log and list all the cases where you decided based on your private opinion and not on community consensus. I hope that based on the values you expressed in the statement here you would also vote remove in your own de-admin. -- Cecil (talk) 17:13, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment: the file File:Taliban in southern Afghanistan 10-12-06.jpg is a bad example. That image from VOA is clearly not created by VOA but an associated press photo. You can easyly see this by the filename at the source. --Martin H. (talk) 17:50, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting info.svg Info Rama is an oversighter as well. This permission should also be stripped off if consensus is to remove admin tools. --The Evil IP address (talk) 17:53, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting info.svg Info Sherurcij's entire argument is built around the notion that I delete images for political reasons, aiming at somehow eliminating images of the so-called "insurgency" in Afghanistan. This assumption is false, as this edit [1] proves. I do not object to Afghan guerrilla being pictured; I object to images with unclear or unfree licences being uploaded to Commons. I have no problem with acutally Free images or images aptly claimed for Fair Use, and I have problems with all copyvios whatever the subject. Once you remove the false assumptions regarding my political opinion (of which Sherurcij has absolutely no ideas, I must stress) you end up having to actually study the copyright status of the images at hand, and realise (as right above) that at least many are clear copyvios warranting immediate deletion. Rama (talk) 13:29, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Well, there is still many more serious issues: you failed to warn the uploader; you deleted files that had been kept after a DR, without re-opening a DR for discussion; when your speedy deletions are disputed, you do not restore the files to let more people participate in a DR. All these actions are against our policy, and you acted this way repeatedly despite users and admins telling you it wasn't an appropriate behavior. The fact that your deletions seem focused on one topic is only a small part of the issue. –Tryphon 13:42, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment One of the reasons people are administrators is that they are able to do all the speedy deletions on copyvios. I think this is why they are administrators at Commons in the first place.
      Even if administrators generally have the choice to request uploaders to send an OT.. permission, I don't quite see what an administrator should do other than delete an ap image.
      The problem with RfD discussions is that the closing administrator has to delete (if it's a copyvio) or keep (if it's required for derivative work) whatever the consensus in the discussion. This is frequently misunderstood even by experienced editors. Obviously, it should be avoided to delete images after another administrator closed the debate with keep.
      It seems a feature of DR discussions that they are mainly limited to administrators, as they are the only ones that can view deleted files.
      Personally, I have mainly come across Rama's numerous uploads, uploads I wouldn't want to miss. -- User:Docu at 14:18, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Pictogram voting info.svg Info My deletion log is publicly available at [2], it can clearly be seen that I do not focus my deletions on any particular subject. There is of course an element of burstiness, but that is caused by browsing a particular category. After the conjectures about my political opinions, this is the second accusation today that not only is gratuitous, but that also clearly does not hold water, and that can be easily checked as such. Rama (talk) 15:34, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

What prior steps of dispute resolution have been taken? I'd be inclined (as a crat) not to consider this failing some prior activities, including discussion at user talk pages, discussion at the VP, discussion at an RfC or other good faith attempts to work this through, have been tried. We have tried to put policy in place to mandate that, which did not get all the way home but without consensus that this step is valid at this time, it may not get very far. I'd urge the parties to open honest and frank discussion to try to resolve this matter short of a deadminship. ++Lar: t/c 17:34, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

  • Remove adminiship. Administrators are entrusted with extra authority, and are expected to exercise that extra authority in an open, transparent, responsible manner. Rama is not doing that. He has been deleting images without informing the uploader. And, when other contributors pose civil questions about his actions they can go unanswered. Here is an example. I posed some civil questions on w:User talk:Rama in September 2009, the last posed on [ 2009-09-09]. I told those participating in the discussion of the 17 files Rama deleted from the Commons about my questions. Rama went AWOL, not responding either at his wikipedia talk page or in the commons deletion review. But, on October 11th, 2009, over a month later I noticed that he had returned to deletion. I am going to quote in full my comment of October 11th, 2009. I suggest ordinary contributors should not have to go to these lengths to get administrators to answer civil questions about their actions. Geo Swan (talk) 18:00, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I think my request, above was civil. It is not my intention to harass you. I do understand that wikipedia administrators are volunteers, who can be busy in real life. But, think the best way for wikipedia contributors to address the time burden of giving civil, meaningful answers to civil, meaningful questions is for wikipedia contributors who are are busy, in real life to scale back the number of concerns they address -- rather than leave some of their efforts incomplete.
I see you have returned to removing images. No offense, but would you please consider responding to the civil questions posed to you about previous deletions, before you recommence your deletion efforts?]
  • Why didn't you go to rama's Commons talk page, since this is where the deletions are taking place? Bastique demandez 18:15, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
    • I left that message on his wikipedia talk page because that image, which I now believe qualifies for placement on the commons, under {{PD-Afghanistan}}, was deleted from the wikipeda. Geo Swan (talk) 16:58, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment I see very little attempt at dispute resolution among the parties. If Rama deletes files without adequate notification means that he needs access to the javascripts that notify people, it does not mean that he needs to be desysoped. Our policy does state that obvious instances of copyright violations may be deleted on sight. Bastique demandez 18:15, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Per Cary in many ways. There really does need to be some communication with Rama (and communication is a two way process). However without that de-sysop seems inappropriate. It is a last resort and should only be used when other avenues have been fully explored. --Herby talk thyme 18:26, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
      • There were Requests for Undeletion where he refused to offer any justification for his many deletions, which were then restored after he refused to do it himself. No less than three administrators spoke to him about his behaviour, as did as least three regular users, his talk page is quite full of people trying to engage him on the subject of his tendency to "delete without process", and he stubbornly refuses to change his ways. Sherurcij (talk) 19:22, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
        • Ok - most of the working Commons admins delete out of process at times. I certainly did - it comes with the territory. I'd like to think whenever someone asked me about it I took their enquiry seriously and looked hard at what I'd done. However it was quite normal for me to handle 100+ deletions in a day.... However I do think that from talk on a user talk to desysop is missing out at least one step. If it were me I'd go to the admin/user issues board (or whatever it is called) and bring it up there. Most people who work here care about Commons and like to see things fixed not ignored. If Rama is really disinterested in the opinion of those he works with then desysop may be appropriate but - in my opinion - not until then. --Herby talk thyme 19:37, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
          • Yup. Per Herby, this is premature. I'm not taking a position about any of the substantive matters at this time, but I will strongly oppose any desysop action without some intermediate steps first. I suggest COM:AN and then, if that fails to address the matter, an RfC. I would remind people of the strong hard feelings that resulted from the User:Gryffindor (Commons:Requests and votes/Gryffindor (de-adminship)) action, which could have been avoided if prior steps had been taken. Withdraw this now, work on the prior steps and if that does not sort it, come back later. ++Lar: t/c 19:53, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
            • This deadminship discussion has been called premature. May I ask you what intermediate steps you think should have been taken first? May I ask you how closely you reviewed the discussions linked to here? Do you think any amount of sweet reasonable arguments from non-administrators can make an administrator who has gone on record as being willing to ignore consensus start to pay attention to consensus again? ("I am not a lawyer, neither are you, and neither are the vast majority of the people who have arrived at that "consensus" (what consensus anyway ?). As far as I am concerned, an absurd consensus has no value.") Now if there is some intermediate step, after repeated good-faith appeals to reasonableness, policy and consensus have failed, that stops short of a nomination for de-adminship that you think should be tried, I for one would welcome hearing about it.
            • Someone, above, wrote: "If Rama deletes files without adequate notification means that he needs access to the javascripts that notify people, it does not mean that he needs to be desysoped." Rama has gone on record as to why he doesn't inform people when he deletes their contributions. It is not due to lack of access to the tools that make informing people easy. It is a personal policy of his. Rama offered this justification for deleting images without warning, and without informing the uploader afterwards, just yesterday:
As for the "summary, clandestine" nature of the deletion, I simply want things done without irrelevant red tape. Filling in requests for obvious cases is an obvious waste of time -- not requested by policy for that precise reason. As for warning the user, I actually see little reason to pollute people's talk pages about uploads that they might have made years ago and whose case is not open to debate.
            • I don't question that Rama has added great value to the commons and wikipedia projects. That definitive catalog of drawings of all sexual positions was of great value. If he is de-sysopped I hope he continues to make his other valuable contributiions. But, so long as he continues to use his administrator authority in a high-handed, unaccountable manner I don't think he should continue to be entrusted with administrator authority. Geo Swan (talk) 16:56, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

This seems to be a little bit premature. Please discuss this first in depth and find a way how this can be solved without desysop. If no solution is found after a discussion you might come back. --ALE! ¿…? 08:20, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

The obvious solution would be that raised on his talk page months ago, that he recognise there has been an issue and resolve to not delete things out of process; remaining an administrator but making use of DR like "normal" users for a time to ensure good judgment that doesn't see half his deletions restored by other admins. However, I feel he was given that opportunity and many times does one try? Sherurcij (talk) 12:14, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Discussion on someone's talk page are not the same as discussions on community pages no matter how many people are involved. --Herby talk thyme 12:27, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Deletion Review#Afghanistan_issues brought out 8 individual users to discuss his deletions and they were universally condemned for not following procedure, and his refusing to compromise and undo the deletions when asked. Wikisource has regular confirmation hearings into each administrator - so we are held to a certain level of accountability; Commons seems to lack that. When IRC, Deletion Review, File_talk and User_talk pages failed, I turned to open a request for De-Admin at the suggestion of another administrator. Could we jump through fifteen hoops requiring 15 months of work, at which point the issue will be dismissed as "It happened over a year ago, let it rest", sure. Is it obligatory? Certainly doesn't seem to be by our DEADMIN policy. Sherurcij (talk) 12:45, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Personally I think confirmation of admins is a very good idea. I would welcome it here - it would remove rather large amounts of dead wood.
However Rama is not dead wood - he works. Equally I pointed out above that I would suggest taking this to one of the admin boards. They do tend to be the most widely read pages (+ VP) on Commons.
You have a point - it should be discussed. De-admin comes - maybe - after that. Others seems to have said this too above. It would be preferably if you considered the suggestion. Thanks --Herby talk thyme 13:12, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

I think that you now have an idea of how I mayself feel about a number of images, of which those in question are an example.
There are images that are evidently not properly documented. They look like potential copyvios, feel like potential copyvios, and sometimes end up being proven as copyvios, like the Associated Press photograph whose deletion triggered this request. Yet, these images are "decided" to be kept at the end of a process which is supposedly a request for comments, but is effectively a vote. Images are voted into the Public Domain, with complete disregard for evidences (either because out of ignorance of copyright laws, misplaced zele for the project, political unease regarding the so-called "War on Terrorism", etc).
Eventually, these images become impossible to delete:
  • summarly deletion is impossible because one is refered to the deletion request, even though they would be shot on sight if uploaded by a new contributor;
  • further deletion requests, which should not even be needed in the first place, become displays of purely ideological battles and typically end up in decisions to keep. Reopening of re-requesting is of course bashed as a way to keep asking until you have the answer you want -- which is a legitimate argument in the context of political cartoons whose name is better not pronounced, for instance, but which in this case becomes a way to keep dismissing a burning issue.
I stress that this happens given insufficient documentation, of obvious flickr washing (wither on Flickr, US government sites or similar, or things like Sherurcij's site whose name escapes me). As a matter of fact, given what I see in some cases, I am amazed that it has been possible to refuse photographs taken in the 3rd Reich and unilaterally claimed for public domain by the USA.
I remind that the request complains of the deletion of "files (...) tagged with {{Archive-Mujahideen}}" (a template so questionable that it is in fact proposed for deletion), that the file that triggered it was an AP photograph flickr-washed by Voice of America; that the burden of the proof is the uploader's -- in doubt, a file must be deleted, not assumed to be OK; and that similar deletion happen dayly, by me or others, without yielding the outcry that photographs of Afghan guerilla fighters cause. The policy of Commons is to be a repository of Free images (not get-away-with-it images), and while the working of the administration is a legitimate subject of debate, the actual task at hand should be given at least as much though. Rama (talk) 13:18, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I don't see any attempt to mediate or discuss conflict widely before this request what definitely should be done before such request. And Voice of America is not trusted source of free media on my experience. --EugeneZelenko (talk) 15:25, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment - I think this desysop attempt is going to fast, there where much more ways to go to and find a solution first before even thinking about a desysop, this request is making a lot of drama and will damage people will cost time and all of that shouldn't be needed.

I know rama as a administrator here that is very good in his job, I can always ask him for a opinion and when he have the time he will always try to help you, it sounds very strange to me that he should be ignoring requests or things like this, I am pretty sure if this discussion would have happen on his talk page we would have had a much bigger effect.

A Commons admin can delete files and mostly he will only use his delete tool, its just impossible to check on every deletion if the uploader was warned and it is always the administrator that decides to go for a speedy, dr or a npd nsd or nld there is no hard written rule about it and we all make mistakes for it, if we are going to desysop rama because he didn't notify people I can lay down my adminbuttons also because its simply impossible to check it every time, and overruling a DR isn't against a policy if a speedy applies, I have done it once or twice also.

Now we are coming to my main point, if rama deletes pictures with dead or serious injured soldiers that should be looked it case by case we always say Commons isn't censored and yes we are not censored but sometimes you need to forget the rules and think about the family for the people on the picture lets just say this: If your family member or a close friend is died in war, or even just on a road accident and someone takes a picture of it and uploads it on Commons would you like it? I would say no, so some pictures with dead people are okay but we need to think a lot before we are uploading wounded or dead soldiers that can be identified, do we want a not censored encyclopaedia or do we want a good encyclopaedia where the families also can look at without being remember on there loss. If we are going for the first apart I think it would be time that I leave this project.

Lets close this Desysop request as misunderstanding and continue with making a good project here. Huib talk 18:08, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't think anybody has suggested he deleted any files showing dead corpses. He deleted files showing living insurgents, released in propaganda videos and released into the public domain, which had community votes typically showing 100% support that they be kept. Sherurcij (talk) 00:10, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
"100% support that they be kept", another symptom of that creeping democratic mentality that replaces technical and rigourous work. I would really like it to be written in stone that "100% support" without conclusive argument is worthless. In that particular case, the only thing that these files have for them is having been Flickr-washed. We cannot vote things into the public domain. Rama (talk) 08:13, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
Worth pointing out maybe that I entirely agree with Rama's comments here. --Herby talk thyme 09:20, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, released into public domain is not always really correct, as we can see based on the fact that one of your examples in your introduction here is now a red link. It took not even two minutes to not only find out the name of the photographer but also that is definitely was not public domain but belonged to AP. You sticking to your opinion that all the images are PD makes me wonder how much licence confirmation you do before uploading and if there are more images you took from that page without checking the image background. It's also quite interesting that according to Ramas talk page this him deleting this now once again as copyvio deleted image was the trigger of this de-admin-request. In this one case we could also see that no admin is free of error, after all Yann restored a copyvio simply because it was deleted by Rama (he did not even leave a warning for possible re-users after restoring that there are doubts about the image). -- Cecil (talk) 16:51, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
A beautiful sideswipe at a personal attack, but since I did not upload/edit/create the might prove difficult. My only relation to the image was seeing Rama continue deleting things without consensus, after concerns were raised about a number of similar choices in the past. Sherurcij (talk)
Completely agree with Huib and would like to remind "unmodern" principle of Confucianism and Christianity: What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others. --EugeneZelenko (talk) 15:30, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
Agree completely with Eugene and it is a good point. Commons is not simply about rules - there are other issues that always should be considered as well. --Herby talk thyme 15:53, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Herbythyme makes a very good point. Perhaps take this to a noticeboard and see whether an amicable solution is possible, before the extreme step of de-adminning (and de-oversighting)? There are times when deflagging could be appropriate, yet in a nonemergency situation it's best to attempt resolution. Durova (talk) 19:19, 6 November 2009 (UTC)