What is the difference between Closed, Unlisted and Archived topics?

(Dean Taylor) #1

This visually displays quite well the difference between “Closed” and “Archived”:

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 “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.
  • Disabled poll based voting (effectively closing polls).
  • 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).


  • Admins, Moderators and Trust Level 4 (TL4) users are not impacted by all these limitations and continue to be able to post in and edit posts in both archived and closed topics.
  • Closing a topic previously also closed any open polls, this is no longer the case.
  • Polls are now only closed by closing the poll itself or archiving the topic.
  • You cannot now use the topic “auto-close” functionality to close the poll at a specific time and date.

Where do topics go when archived?

  • You can see archived topics via the status=archived query string parameter: Discourse Meta - The Official Support Forum for Discourse
  • You can still see archived topics when browsing to a specific category.
  • You can use the status:archived filter to search specifically for archived topics.


When a topic is “Unlisted” this has the following impact:

  • Prevents the inclusion of the topic for normal users in “lists”, this includes:
    • Homepage / “latest” list.
    • Unread topics list.
  • Disables inclusion in digest emails.
  • Can only be accessed via a direct link of an unlisted topic.
  • Is not Google-indexable (but if it has already been indexed it may remain available for quite some time)

A topic can be a combination of all three states “Closed”, “Archived” and “Unlisted”.

The Future for Archived topics

Note this comment, which indicates that what archive ultimately means might change:

There is further discussion in this topic:

Originally posted here, re-posted as #faq by request of @erlend_sh and since updated.

When to unlist, make private message, close, and delete
Don't merge topics!
List of full moderation tools?
Best practices for archiving topics
SMF's categories vs Discourse's categories
Like button not appearing on archived topics
A couple of questions about suppressing posts
Archiving vs. unlisting vs. deleting a thread
Archiving vs Closing & Bulk Topic Update
Trading buttons: Buy, Sell, Exchange
Any way to NOT send emails when a topic category is changed?
List of full moderation tools?
Unlisted only means not listed in topics list
Safe to archive messages?
(Joshua Rosenfeld) #2

Should it be specified that staff can still reply in closed (and I believe archived) topics?

1 Like
(Dean Taylor) #3

Updated to reflect impact for staff and TL4 users:

(Eli the Bearded) #4

It makes no sense to me that an “archived” allows that.

(Tumi) #5

Tell what is the reason to change a posts and topic to non-indexable by google. I dont see logic here. For what is this

(Jeff Wong) #6

You could use it as a more private, but easily shareable conversation in which anyone who has the link is considered OK to read. You would not want google to index these.

There may be other reasons such as hiding questionable content that you would like to be able to audit, but do not want associated with your site.

It makes sense that a reason to hide a topic is a reason for the topic to not be indexed.

(Stephen Chung) #7

I think the faq is missing the fact that posts in Closed topics can be edited by the owners of the posts, while posts in Archived topics cannot be edited (except by admins of course).

(Greg Rundlett) #8

Once a topic is unlisted, how can I find it again? (answer: direct link) But what if I don’t have the link?

I’ve tried impersonating the user who posted it. I’ve tried searching for the title. I’ve tried to find some administrator-only list. Do I have to go into the database (which I’ve never done)?

1 Like
(Greg Rundlett) #9

Answering my own question (answer found in this discourse).
visit /?status=unlisted as Admin