The difference between Topics and posts in Discourse

Inspired by this answer by @jomaxro, this is a short explainer on the difference between topics and posts in Discourse.

Topics are collections of posts. Let’s use a random topic here on Meta as an example:

That topic has a title, “Don’t warn whisperers”, and ID, 199028 , and contains 5 posts at the time of writing this howto.

Posts are the individual “content” within a topic. This includes the “OP”, or original post, that is created at the same time as the topic.

As a point of note, a topic should always have 1 or more posts, in Discourse technical speak, this is called the posts count posts_count. If a topic has more than 2 posts (that is posts_count = 2) but no replies have been made to the topic, then that topic has “small posts”.

Small posts are topic activity notifications, things like topic closed, topic opened, topic pinned, topic archived, etc. See this image for an example: