Why can I not find a post I made 20 years ago?

I was looking for an post I made about 19-20 years ago here, and I couldn’t. I got a screen displaying, “Oops! That page doesn’t exist or is private.”

Well, it does exist somewhere, because I made it here. And it was not intended to be private–as I recall, I got responses from other SDMB members in the subsequent thread.

What gives?

It is most likely there, what was the thread about? Using the Discouse search tools it shouldn’t be hard to check.

As I understand it, with the move to Discourse, links to posts and threads were broken, but the posts and threads still exist. That’s why you get the message that the page doesn’t exist if you follow these pre-Discourse links. You have to look for the old post via the page search which is quite good with the right keywords.

Try fiddling with the search on this page. You can type keywords at the end or change the date as needed.



Threads were renamed to fit into Discourse’s naming scheme, so not only were links broken but any bookmarks you had were also broken.

But yes, the threads still exist. The only threads that no longer exist are from the “Winter of our missed content”, December 2001 to March 2002.

Well, there is at least one MPSIMS topic that seems to have disappeared during the transition, which I can confirm still does not show up when searching within the correct date range.

There was a pre-Discourse debate concerning Andrew Yang’s Universal Basic Income which also seems to have disappeared.

I can speculate that one or more participants in these missing topics were flagged as a troll, thus somehow preventing the entire thread from being carried over.


As a proud '99er, I still can’t find a single post I made in 1999, and not many from 2000-2001. I think the Winter of Our Missed Content smashed a LOT more threads than we remember.

Can I?

Point taken. I tried searching specifically for posts made before 01-01-2000 and found a few, but nowhere near the number I had made. Also, I can’t find my very first post from 1999, about who was the greatest American humorist other than Mark Twain, which I’d like to review for sentimental reasons.

If you go into your account, then Preferences, at the bottom of that page there is a link to export all your data. This will be a zipped file containing “user_archive.csv” which contains all your posts and valid links to the threads.

A lot of posts from the first year or so were lost in the UBB to vB conversion. That was likely the reason for your first post being missing rather than the lost winter.

I just made a search for my 12 cheese lasagna a few days ago. I got links to posts from both 2002 and 2004. Perhaps if you search the topic of your thread it might show up.

I did notice that in the very oldest posts I pulled up, most of the users were named “System.”

I downloaded my user archive and it shows the first post as August 7, 1999. I am 100% sure I joined months before that, and I certainly didn’t wait months before I posted. In fact, when I search by my (original) user name, there’s a post from July 1999 that cites me.

What I would like to know is, why can’t I find my glasses that I set down 2 minutes ago?

Look on top of your head? That’s where I typically find mine, after 15 minutes of looking for them.

Yes, I forget that I put them up there. I want to scratch my head, and go, “Where the hell are they?” and put my hand up to scratch my head … oh, there they are.

What was your post about? Maybe we can help you find it.

I posed a question that, assuming Mark Twain was the greatest American humorist, who was the second-greatest. These days it would go in Cafe Society, but I believe back then GQ was the only forum.

I’ve tried searching by my current user name, my previous user name (kunilou), Mark Twain, and humorist. As I said, nothing at all shows up before the July 1999 post that mentions me.

You mention it here. Some of the memories in that thread refer to AOL days. Could could have posted it there?

I don’t think I was ever on the AOL board, but then I’ve also been insisting that I joined in March of '99 and my own user profile says that I joined on April 7. At this point I guess anything is possible.