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Lost JOS Topics

Where do topics go when they fall off the list of Recent Topics? Are they gone forever?

I'm looking for a couple of threads that are old enough to no longer display on the main discussion page. If they are retrievable by mere mortals, I'd like to know how to find them (and others like them later on).


Monday, February 2, 2004

They hang out over at

Monday, February 2, 2004

The older topics still exist, but they're not easy to find. If you have saved a bookmark to an older topic, it will still work. Using "Search" on this site doesn't seem to work very well.

In addition to the archive on (a great service - thanks), you can use Google to search for older topics on this site, by adding the search term:
For example, the following link at Google searches for topics here on "knowledge management":

Philip Dickerson
Monday, February 2, 2004

All of the topic URLs seem to be perma-links and it appears that even a scrolled-off topic can be added to. I would suppose that if you maintained your own web page of links and titles of threads, it would be perpetually valid. The only 'magic' thing about titles appearing on the index page is that their current reply count is maintained in the title and the link.

My guess is that the forum scrolling is manual, someone at Fogcreek makes a human decision periodically that the thread list is too frikkin' large and deletes a group of the oldest topic links.

Bored Bystander
Monday, February 2, 2004

I looked at that site and was ecstatic that I started a post listed in the top 200 most responded!

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Monday, February 2, 2004

>> "My guess is that the forum scrolling is manual, someone at Fogcreek makes a human decision periodically that the thread list is too frikkin' large and deletes a group of the oldest topic links."

It would be my guess that they use SQL to do this.

Select Top 100 * From tblTopics

You could check out the source to some of the clones of this forum.  They really spell it out in black and white.  No magic here folks.

Monday, February 2, 2004

Joel has made it clear that this is a "conversation" and that's why old topics disappear with no archive.
Monday, February 2, 2004

I take it the "bold" topics turned out to be to much work eh?

Flat Line
Monday, February 2, 2004

Or Joel is out of town at the moment, and we're not saying anything worth bolding anyway.
Monday, February 2, 2004

It may be a conversation, but it's damn annoying when I know someone posted a link a month ago that I now want again, and it's no longer there.

I mean come on, Joel's supposed to be some sort of usability guru, yet you can't even go back and find and old post, which is a basic function of every other message board on the internet. You've got to ask how this makes the forum better, don't you?

Sum Dum Gai
Monday, February 2, 2004

Take it up with this guy:

And bookmark/blog/wiki/add a search engine too/search through your history for things you passed but are interested in.

It sucks from a Don Normal "knowledge that's not in your head" kind of way, but it is what it is.
Monday, February 2, 2004

The easiest way to find older topics is to use the report that lists the topics for each quarter.

Zahid, if you want to revisit a topic that you participated in then you could look at your own personal comment history page :

Chris McEvoy
Tuesday, February 3, 2004

How do you get a personal comment history page? Do you have to be in the top ten most active or something?

John Topley (
Tuesday, February 3, 2004

I don't know, but you're actually not so far from the top.

Though it is sort of a Coke / brand X situation where the top is a few giants.

It looks like it though, I clicked on a name to get his list and then incrememnted it by one and there was nothing there, a 404.

Heh, I guess I don't need to bookmark my favorite threads after all, someone did it for me.
Tuesday, February 3, 2004

John, being in the Top 50 Active Posters will get you a personal comments page.

I have combined the different Names you have used in JOS : John Topley, John Topley (www......) etc. etc and can confirm that you will appear in the top 50 (at number 32 actually) with 403 posts of 11,975 words.

Your personal URL will be :

(This will not work until I have uploaded the files in about 5 hours time).

If you drop out of the top 50 posters then your personal file will not be updated until you get back into the top 50.

If anyone who isn't in the top 50 really wants a page, they can mail me with their JOS name(s) and I will see if I can oblige.

Chris McEvoy
Wednesday, February 4, 2004

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