Msg#: 4536894 posted 11:11 pm on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)
What is viewtopic.php?* intended to mean?
I'd have thought the sequence ?* would get you an immediate error, but possibly not. (Tried it in text editor which speaks regex.) In Regular Expressions * is not a wild card, which I suspect is what you want it to be. And ? is not a literal character. Not that it matters, because you don't mean
which is exactly the same as not having a RewriteCond at all. (Hm. Or is it? Does mod_rewrite distinguish between an absent query and an empty one?)
In theory, "viewtopic.php" always has a parameter-- what mod_rewrite calls a Query String. For your present purposes, does it matter whether the query is legitimate? Does the Forums software itself distinguish between garbage strings and ones that simply point to nonexistent pages (say, page 5 of a 3-page discussion, or topic 43567 when the total number is only 30000)? Quick detour to nearest php/bb forum says that any query string it can't resolve-- or no query at all-- leads to the generic "doesn't exist" message. I hope the googlebot knows this, because otherwise we're in Soft 404 / Duplicate Content / Infinite URL Space territory.