Discourse does support underlined text, by wrapping the text in question in the [u] and [/u] BBCode tags. But this is a bit clunky, and unfortunately, markdown-style syntax for underlined text (like * and ** for italic and bold text, respectively) is not currently supported. See this meta-forum thread for more info.
So, current process is? 1) report deadlinks here? 2) PM/DM someone (you)? 3) wait til …?
I can most often find what I’m looking for here, but I’m thinking of those who haven’t that much time, attention span, or previous experience to find a search, or even ask the right question on forum. Research takes lots of time, requires skills we want to Foster (that cap was autotyped, but I left it), but too much noise-to-signal defeats…
And I am still raising second question.
As to third (pitb on mobile) q, this is why I shouldn’t have gone off topic in my own post. I want to mark @holbrook as having solved that part, but keep the main Q’s active…
There is no formal procedure.
If I link an old thread and there are broken links or misplaced attachments, then I fix if possible. The links (sometimes) are broken because of the two forum migration processes we have been through.
We can close old threads to stop necroposting. We can also delete the last post and then reset the bump date so the thread does not show as recently accessed.
It would be made by Admins. I personally wouldn’t support it, we have had several threads over the years that benefited from ongoing posts, some threads lasted several years with gaps of a few months. Perhaps a longer no activity period of 120 days would work.
That’s up to Dillon, but fixing broken links by anyone other than the original poster is often hard, even fixing links and attachments correctly in threads I made from several years ago takes some effort to do accurately.
Seems a reason to get it done while still possible (OP present). Teamwork with suggestions to a decision maker. At least a collection point or list of broken links. Ad hoc response seems avoidance. Perhaps I am overstating the problem, but I am hitting broken links routinely, perhaps because I am researching so much.
Surely there can be an automated link checker (like linktiger or broken-link-checker). Did see a reference that Jeff Atwood was working on this at Stack Overflow and left it unfinished when he left to start Discourse…
And this pretty much takes all sides of the question, to the point of paralysis…
When answering questions with references to the old threads I always make links to the specific posts and reuse existing image attachments from the old threads.
Unfortunately, as the forum went through several software packages over the years, the format of the links to the individual posts and attachments has changed every single time, resulting in a large number of the broken links.
One time a few months worth of the attached images were permanently lost. @jpearman had to manually fix a number of his threads frequently used as a reference material. I found some of the lost images in my threads at web.archive.org and he kindly updated them as well. This process clearly does not scale.
Forum admins, with access to the backups of the old forum databases, are in the best position to have a script to dig through the original posts and compare, validate, and, if necessary, fix any broken links. But it is not a trivial task and they must have other higher priority items on their list.
It is unfortunate, but realistically the old forum threads simply do not have enough value to justify few months of work of an employee or even an intern dedicated to fix them all in a semi-automated fashion.
The best we could do is, probably, just keep looking forward and try to put some most frequently used reference material into a wiki format, which I still plan to do once the season is over.