Use last outgoing link in closed topic as forwarder

Please bear with me as I don’t know exactly what I’m suggesting yet, but I need help fleshing out this idea.

If I search “wordpress and discourse on same server”, I get this result:

4 closed topics. All technically good matches as far as the search algorithm is concerned, and they will take me to the How-to I need in the end because they all link to it. However, 4 closed and near-identical topics are hardly ideal as top results.

What you really want is to send the searching user directly to the topic they all linked to before getting closed, the solution to each of these support posts, which is “Running other websites on the same machine as Discourse”.

Therefore I’m suggesting:

If the last post in a closed topic contains a single link to a different forum post, or;
If the Solution (using Solved plugin) contains a single link to a different forum post, then:

The linked-to post (usually a topic) will take on the incoming link’s topic title as one of many aliases. Locked topics will be down-prioritised slightly, so that the topic with the alias rises above them in search results.

So could this work or does it sound like I’m off my meds again?

Edit: Here’s another great example of a topic that would benefit greatly from using some incoming topics as “title aliases” to increase the chance of new users finding it (check the incoming links).


Feels to me this should be an option set by whoever closes the thread. An automatic solution has potential for false positives.

Although in your example case, it’s pretty clear what the “real answer” is. Maybe search should be aware of multiple closed top results, and only then analyse them for a common “real answer” link, which could be promoted or highlighted.


(excuse the ugly MS Paint text)

I suppose it depends on your philosophy for the search tool. Are you trying to find “the answer” or a specific topic?


You are definitely on to something there. And we do track incoming and outgoing internal links from topics.

I was going for convention over configuration to keep things simple, and I figured in the vast majority of cases when the last post has a single link in it and the topic is subsequently closed, it usually means one thing: Discussion continues over here.

One way to completely mitigate the risk of false positives would be to put the burden of confirmation on the moderator. Normally when you hit the “Close Topic” button it’s instant. However, if a topic meets the aforementioned criteria:

Pop a dialogue that asks the moderator something like

“This topic ends with a link pointing to a different post on this forum. Would you like to forward the topic you’re closing to that post?”

I really like that mockup of yours, which would be far more feasible with an unmistakable approach like this.

This is like PageRank isn’t it?

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Yeah internal page rank, I definitely want to improve our relevance ranking to take in more signals than just blob of text

A huge one I want to get done first is to allow you to give a bump to a particular category, that way how to can always be first


I really like this idea.

I’d even add a little weight to every non-closed topic for each incoming last link: Being the last link in many closed topics is an indicator that this topic is particularly interesting.

Well, this suggestion alone is more about good housekeeping with your links, since it wouldn’t require any kind of algorithm to be useful. An actual internal PageRank, albeit related, is a very different implementation with a far larger scope.

@erlend_sh I like your solution + @Tom_Newsom’s suggestion.

If I understand correctly, locked topic would still be searchable, but clicking on the result of the search would redirect to the live topic (optional).
In case my English is not precise enough, I refer as live topic to the final thread that merges the duplicates, in opposition to the locked topic)

If I may, it would be nice to redirect to the (first? last?) post of the locked topic in the context of the live topic, instead of the last read post of the live topic.
So that it really gives the impression you arrive on the locked topic, if you see what I mean.

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