Is it possible to join/merge topics?

Is it possible to join topics? Due to some errors I have duplicate topics. I’d like to keep the urls but redirect to a common topic.

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Yes. In the topic, hit the wrench icon. Select the posts you want to merge, then move them to an existing topic. It will split them off and leave a link in the original thread. If you move them all, it will automatically close the topic.

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@Heather_Dudley, thank you for the hint. I tried to join two topics using this method and the comments have been moved. But the empty topic remains (as closed). I’d like to get rid of it (except for the redirection, so I’d like to keep the url).

You can keep it closed and you can also archive and/or unlisted it, depending on what you want to do.

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thank you @Dax. I see that there are different possibilities to address my question. I can now prevent the duplicate topic from being listed. That’s what I need. But completely removing the duplicate only keeping the url as a redirect to the other topic doesn’t seem possible as far as I see. Is that true? On Wikipedia (not that a discussion forum is wikipedia) it’s possible to create a page, later delete all the content and make it a redirect.

For the benefit of other users of Wikipedia and the MediaWiki software, it is worth explaining that there is no real correspondence between a Wikipedia topic and a Discourse topic. So the joining/merging topics means something very different:

  • Wikipedia never explicitly defines a topic within all its policy and procedures, but it sure has a lot of rules about them. Wikipedia uses the concept of a topic in at least three ways:

    • a name for an area of knowledge or subject
    • a synonym for a Wikipedia article
    • a user search term

    :arrow_right: Whereas a Discourse topic is a collection of posts of which the first has a topic title.
    However, a Discourse topic can have a wiki post and be closed to reply posts so it looks more like a unitary Wikipedia article.

  • The Wikipedia data structure operates under a namespace for naming all its webpages in its MediaWiki software. NB Wikipedia actually refers to subsets of the overall namespace as namespaces e.g. 0 = Main/Article, 2 = User, etc.
    :arrow_right: Discourse does not use such namespaces to structure webpage names.

  • Wikipedia article titles have to have unique names and must use Topic-specific naming conventions.
    :arrow_right: Discourse does prevent duplicate topic names by default but this setting can be disabled.
    Discourse has no topic-specific naming convention.

Wikipedia handles ambiguous user search terms by two main mechanisms:

  • Redirects = links from ambiguous terms to the correct article title i.e. essentially where a primary topic can be determined.
    :arrow_right: Discourse can have manual links but not a redirect from a deleted topic.

  • Disambiguation pages = lists various meanings of a term and links to the articles i.e. essentially where the primary topic does not exist or is difficult to determine.
    :arrow_right: Discourse has no mechanism for disambiguation of terms in user searches.

Wikipedia is also far more concerned about permanent links to provide a record of article development and to avoid breaking external links to their topics. So Wikipedia automatically leaves a redirect when a page is deleted. The MediaWiki software does this automatically to maintain a history.
:arrow_right: Discourse does not have any requirement to keep such a record of deleted topics.

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Thank you for the comparison @Remah!

For my use case one remaining bit is the redirection. I found that that may be possible using permalinks.
Someone else asked a similar question: Redirect Article- possible?

It seems that if I

  • move the content of one topic to the other
  • delete one topic
  • create a redirect for the deleted topics url to the new one
    there is a redirect for anonymous users.

Thank you all for the replies! I’ll see what I make out of this for my usecase.

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Bear in mind that permalink redirection only works with incoming links from other sites. Internal links will just break.

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I have an aversion to merging topics because of the impact on sequencing of posts. So I’ve never actually done it.

FYI, I imagine that merging categories could also benefit from a permalink. Although I know that renaming a category creates an automatic redirect.

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Thank you @Remah for pointing to that topic. The term “merge” didn’t come to my mind otherwise I would have found it in the beginning. I could only think of “join”.

it will also be nice to directly merge 2 topics together. instead of manually merging the individual posts. is this possible?

If you select the original post and all the replies with the button select +below you can merge 2 topics without manually select all the replies.

image

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