Best practices for archiving topics

This was fixed… It should only notify the OP and it definitely no longer bumps the topic…


OP means Original Poster?

That would be good. Thanks for clarifying. What about moderators? Do moderators get notified?

OP = Original Poster

Well they likely closed it… so no they don’t. If they were watching the category/topic, it does appear under the Unread tab (may not be true for auto-close), but nothing in the notifications area.

Ah - so we have a category that we require everyone to watch. When a topic is closed in that category, does everyone get notified?

In the Unread tab, yes, an actual Notification in the top right - no.

Again, may not apply for auto-close, but it seems to apply for a moderator closing a topic (based on the experience I have at Sitepoint and here at Meta)


Is there a difference in search engine visibility for Archived topics? I for one would like to see archived topics be not-indexed by Google and co., and be invisible or deprioritized in the in-Discourse search. This for many of the reasons stated here, but still leaving the topic around for people who have the link or otherwise know where it is…


I think that is a very good idea and would be another important point of distinction between closed. @techapj can you add this to your list?

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I’m not sure that “archived = hidden” is a good line to draw. Alternatively, you could do something crazy like automatically submitting archived topics to


I always understood an archive to be a place of public record, to be referenced when required. So I assumed the purpose of archiving a topic was to ensure a particularly-important topic remained preserved and unchanged - like locking cells in a spreadsheet to prevent accidental changes.

This sounds more like bundling up old business records, ready to throw them out when they get beyond the seven-year limit (or whatever the local legal requirement is). I’m not sure quite what I’d call that, but it wouldn’t be archiving.


Yeah, I don’t like that idea either. They can unlist if they want it hidden from Search Engines, why should Archived be removed?

Archived simply means you want to store it in its original state, you don’t want it modified. It would be similar to a static page which are still visible to search engines.

There is already a solution for this, they can unlist it and archive it. Done. Bam. Easy. Archive does not equal invisible.

With the change proposed, it is impossible for me to save a discussion in its current state without making it invisible/impossible to find. That’s frustrating.

Definition of archive:

Keywords: “Long term storage”

What if all of the important documents from our history were archived in the way you’ve outlined? They would be nearly impossible to find by new users because they don’t have a link to it. Hardly the best use of long term storage, yes?


So it seems we do actually have a few archived topics (over 20 pages worth). So the impact on us is real (just an FYI).

Yes that is an even better idea. @techapj make it so unlisting a topic removes it from Google search results by adding the no index header.


This post has been updated re-posted here:

Original post below

I was trying to get a handle on what “archiving” a topic does compared to “closing”, I walked though the code and made a few notes - which I thought I would share.

I just want to point out and re-iterate that @codinghorror’s post here really does visually display quite well this functionality:

##So how does “Archiving” vs. “Closing” a topic compare?

###Common to both

  • Displays a “lock” icon next to topic in lists
  • It is possible for two lock icons to display if both closed and archived: Close and Archive a Topic
  • Disables replying to topic
  • Disables voting.
  • Disables “Invite” button at bottom of topic.
  • Closing or archiving a topic does not bump its last activity date.

###Specific to Archived topics

  • Disables users ability to a delete a post.
  • Disables likes.
  • Disables display in “all categories” “latest” page (usually the homepage for logged in users).
  • Disables display of topic on the /top page
  • Disables inclusion in digest emails.
  • Disables display of topic in “random” topics list in footer of topic page.
  • Continues to allow flagging of topic or posts.
  • Continues to allow bookmarking.
  • Continues to be displayed in the Unread list (i.e. you see the post marking it as Archived, this is by design).

##Where do they go?

##The Future

And I also noted this comment, which indicates that what archive ultimately means might change:

There is further discussion in this topic:
How should category archiving work?

If you spot an error or something changed, please do reply to this post - I’ll update it.
Perhaps this could be a start of a spec post for archived topics?


My 2 cents for added features:

  • archived topics should also behave like unlisted topics
  • should be excluded from search by default
  • should not be crawled by bots.
  • should remain available to search with a special search operator (include:archived or something?)
  • should remain available to those with a link

In other words, they should be put in a state where they are out of the way enough you don’t have to delete them.

(or should those be just features of ‘unlisted’ and a shortcut could exist to “archive and unlist”?)

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I guess we have different definitions for what “archived” means.

To me it does not mean “ready for the trash heap” but “saved for posterity”.

That is, they should not be like unlisted topics, uhmm, isn’t that what unlisted is for?
They should be accessible via Search
They should be crawled by bots


@mcwumbly you have peculiar ideas of what “the archives” means, at least in terms of how the real world analog works.

It is more like cold storage, out of the way, a bit harder to get to, but being completely inaccessible – absolutely never the intent.

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OK, I think I’m on the same page with both of you actually. There were some earlier conversations regarding topics here being deleted because they became obsolete or misleading as the world around them changed.

This still rubs me the wrong way, so I was reaching for a solution. I think “archive and unlist” would be a better way to handle that… which I noted above:

And now re-reading earlier posts I see it was already mentioned before too:


This doesn’t seem to the case? On 1.3.0 stable (yea i know it’s old) , archiving a topic does not change it’s visibility in the “Latest” or “Category” view. It still appears, with a lock next to it.

We never intended archive to hide, if you need to hide stuff you can make your topic unlisted


Fair enough, it works for me either way - was just trying to help @DeanMarkTaylor amend his notes.

@sam is this kinda correct:

  • Closing is stopping further comment, but still allowing edits?
  • Archived is closing, but also ‘freezing’ so that the topic cannot be amended at all.