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Merging old topics into new ones : a warning is needed


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Hello, 

this happened to us once, and we could save it with only creating a permanent 301 redirect for the old existing link, 

(that was appearing in search results and was a frequently used topic with backlinks to it)

 Moderators, usually are needed to merge new topics into existing old ones, so as to not have double discussions of the same subject, and to guide new members to the older existing answers where they can read or ask more. 

Its a relatively not risky permission to give to a moderator. 

 When you merge  topic B into topic A the url link of the topic you selected (B)   is deleted. 

Old links though, have an importance with seo. So when you merge an old topic into a new topic, 

you are distroying a link  and creating a 404 error page, where you wouldnt want one. 

This isnt good when it happens accidentally or even unknowingly, if a moderator is not aware of it or just does not care and does otherwise. 

A warning that  would appear when you try to merge an older topic into a new one, 

would be useful, saying 

You are trying to merge an old topic into a new one  - are you sure you want to do this;

and / or even:

This will mean the old url (and all the backlinks you have on it) will stop working/existing and you will get a 404 page on it. 

 

Edited by MeMaBlue
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/18/2018 at 2:48 PM, Ryan Ashbrook said:

Merging topics should follow the same rules as moving a topic - a redirect will be left in place which takes you to the merged topic, which expires at the admin defined time (default of 30 days).

I disagree they should follow the same rules.  The problems of moving and merging topics are not necessarily the same.  When moving a topic, the old URL remains valid, so we just need the link to also be listed on the old forum in case the users are looking for the topic URL in the old forum.  But if you have links to that topic (external or not), the links will remain valid, even if there is no redirect.  With merged topics one of the URLs will stop working, which means SEO issues and potential broken links if you disable the redirect link.

I have actually experienced this issue multiple times in my community with a topic that is quite popular, and that was merged multiple times in the past, forcing me to manually setup redirects to avoid broken links.

So, I believe the warning is indeed needed, and the permanent redirect is also a nice to have feature.

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On 4/23/2018 at 2:09 PM, Ryan Ashbrook said:

That would be a bug - the old URL should redirect to the new, merged, topic. I added this myself some time ago.

Do you have any idea about when that was implemented?  Was that feature also supposed to redirect topics merged before it was implemented?  If so, I guess I'm experiencing some bug in my community (I have a topic that was merged the last time around an year ago that is not redirecting automatically).

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19 minutes ago, ptprog said:

Do you have any idea about when that was implemented?  Was that feature also supposed to redirect topics merged before it was implemented?  If so, I guess I'm experiencing some bug in my community (I have a topic that was merged the last time around an year ago that is not redirecting automatically).

Just over a year ago - it's not retroactive, no. Keep in mind it follows the moved topic logic, so if the Admin CP is configured to expire redirects after a certain amount of time, then it will do so for both merged and moved topics.

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5 hours ago, Ryan Ashbrook said:

Keep in mind it follows the moved topic logic, so if the Admin CP is configured to expire redirects after a certain amount of time, then it will do so for both merged and moved topics.

In that case, I repeat what I said before:

  • With moved topics there is no URL invalidated, thus no broken links, even after you remove the redirect entry.
  • With merged topics one URL is not valid anymore, thus after you remove the redirection you get a broken link.

Again, I disagree they should follow the same rules.

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  • 3 months later...

The logic behind merging topics is questionable at all. It should be the opposite way as it is done now.

Just imagine how people use this function. In 99% of all cases you want to add a topic with few posts into another popular topic with many posts. And so, you will select the topic with the few posts to merge into the other. 

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