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Lots of thread#'s are missing.  Not all of them ever existed as front-page LGF posts.  How to tell which missing thread#'s do represent deleted top posts (short of recovering them from the memory hole - something that's been done for several deleted top posts)?  One way is to examine several thousands of comments 'on either side' of a missing thread#, to see if there are missing comments 'centered' on the missing thread number.  Below are some examples.  Thread #26455 is missing and has been recovered, so it's an example of what a missing thread might look like.  So, for example, from the comment forensics it looks like thread #26064 never existed, while missing thread #31097 definitely existed and was deleted by Johnson (Wikipedia's doubts notwithstanding).
NB - the Y axis is "missing comments per 100 found comments", the X axis is "100s of found comments"; so a data point of 5, for example, means that 5 comments out of 100 found comments were missing - not significant - while a data point of 140, say, is definitely significant.