The Signpost


David Thomsen (Dthomsen8) and Ingo Koll (Kipala)

Contribute  —  
Share this
By Guild of Copy Editors coordinators, Baffle gab1978 and Andreas Kolbe

David Thomsen (Dthomsen8)

A smiling man with white hair wearing bifocals.
Dave in 2012.
A man and a woman at a computer.
Dave instructs a new editor at GLAM Cafe in 2015.

David died on November 25, 2022, at the age of 83.[1] He was a prolific editor and a self-declared gnome who added to articles on Philadelphia, United States, and created many new articles.[2] David lived in Fairmount, Philadelphia. After earning a degree at Lafayette College and serving for two years with the US Army in West Germany, he worked for 27 years as a computer programmer for Sunoco.[2][3]

David began his post-retirement Wikipedia career on March 13, 2008; five years later, he had made 100,000 edits, mostly through wikignoming. As of this issue, he is the 52nd-most-active editor in Wikipedia. David was a member of the Guild of Copy Editors, and took part in its monthly drives and blitzes. He was also part of the Article Rescue Squadron, saving uncited-but-promising articles from deletion.[2] David was openly proud of his Wikipedia-editing activities, and he even designed his own Wikipedia-themed caps, which he wore to Philadelphia wiki-meetups and gave away to his fellow Wikipedians.[2] Outside Wikipedia, David was a member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.[3]

Dthomsen8 has left an indelible legacy at Wikipedia, and the encyclopedia and editing community are poorer for his loss. Messages of condolence can be left on his talk page.

Ingo Koll (Kipala)

Two men sit at a laptop computer.
Ingo (left) at Wikimania 2018.

Wikimedia Tanzania and Jenga Wikipedia ya Kiswahili have published a tribute to User:Kipala, a much-loved German Wikimedian who – as a fluent Swahili speaker – was particularly active in the African Wikimedia community (see also Wikimedia-l thread).

Ingo was an important stakeholder of Swahili/Kiswahili Wikipedia whose immeasurable contribution will not be forgotten. We will always remember our beloved Ingo Koll for many things, especially his significant contribution to editing, building, and maintaining Wikipedia Kiswahili, Wikimedia Tanzania and Jenga Wikipedia Kiswahili. He was a selfless person who gave his all whenever needed. His sudden death is a big blow to the Swahili/Kiswahili Wikipedia community and Wikimedia Tanzania.

He was a wonderful teacher who wanted to see Kiswahili grow and be increasingly used in education. He was committed to spreading free knowledge through Wikimedia projects and programs. His exemplary work is seen in radio programs such as “Macho Angani” and his remarkable production of Astronomy topics into Swahili language “Astronomia kwa Kiswahili”. Ingo loved everyone who fondly called him Babu Ingo or Kipala. We will honor him by keeping his values of hard work, selfless spirit, truthfulness and going all the way always. May he rest in eternal peace. Amen.


  1. ^ "David Thomsen Obituary 2022". Cremation Society of Philadelphia. November 25, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d Schleifer, Theodore (September 2, 2013). "Philadelphian is a king of Wikipedia editors". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on June 30, 2023. Retrieved July 6, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Ha, Yoona; Wilson, Jacob (October 14, 2014). "On Philadelphia's birthday, a look at how it came alive on Wikipedia".
In this issue
+ Add a comment

Discuss this story

I was lucky enough to meet David Thomsen in 2012, at an NYC event. A great editor and a great person. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 13:55, 17 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]

At the 2015 WCNA in DC I was assigned to hand out "Wiki-Edu" backpacks to Lightning Talkers. When Dave came off the podium and accepted his, he didn't just settle for thanking me but in return gave me one of his "Wikipedia Editor" caps. I was briefly tempted to demur on grounds that I was only doing my duty, but bit my tongue and have worn it proudly at events ever since, though it is becoming slightly battered. Alas, I didn't get to know him as well as many; just enough to appreciate his wisdom and his kindness to others. Jim.henderson (talk) 12:22, 19 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0