I have some fear that just mentioning COBOL will illicit about 50 useless clutter-comments of vast wit. So let's just assume everyone who has something funny to say, then they don't have to actually post it. I'm trying to clean up a little corner of SO. That little corner may not be well-liked, but it will be cleaner.

Some posts are very obvious candidates for Close, with a very clear reason. Like this one (not COBOL, just a clear example from another obscure area):

Why the StEPLIB always overrides the JOBLIB,in JCL?

Others are obvious candidates, but without a clear reason (to me).

I'm doing a little tidying of questions tagged COBOL. I have done a number so far, but started having difficulty furnishing a reason from the options provided. So I thought I could post a few examples here and get some advice on how to flag them, which would help me do the same to other similar-ish ones.

The first of the examples is this:


Problem here is, confirmed in the comments, there is nothing wrong with the code shown. The program shown works. The OP has some unknown problem, but it is not related directly to the code shown. OK, a working program may help someone, but when posted as not working, it can more likely confuse. I thought to Close. It can't be Edited except to say that it works, and it can't be Answered.


This is the first of a series of four questions. As the OP broke things down into individual questions, the original question was just abandoned. The information to Answer is already in the answers to the other three questions. Is it best to mark it as Duplicate, which it is not quite, or Close it - but for what reason? These are the other three questions:

I have an external COBOL-IT function I want to call from my C program. Getting the error "ERRORC2065: 'productid': undeclared identifier calling a COBOL program from a C program, ERROR LNKG2019: unresolved external symbol _verkoop referenced in function _main Implicit Close of file

Which brings us to the last of those three. Turns out that a corrupt file was the problem. Such a corruption causing a similar problem in a similar program (which was not written in the best way) in the future seems unlikely. The reasoning to get to the Accepted Answer is not something that is a first recourse for problem determination, so I am uneasy about it being "out there" with a program which, other than for the corrupt file, would work, even if not well. If I delete my Answer, someone else may Answer the question. It would be better, I think, if the whole question was deleted. As it is, I feel it is not a help to any future searcher, and could cause confusion.

AS 400- Sequential File not getting written. No error in the status. COBOL 400

This is another where the code is no so hot, but it is not wrong, as such. Without negative external factors, the code will work. What negative external factors caused it to fail can't be said. Advice can be given on identifying when external errors have occurred, but without the specifics it is difficult to see that advice as an Answer rather than a Comment. Again, the question is not going to help a future searcher.

There actually is COBOL in .NET?

This one does not good fit for questions these days, but what reason should it be Closed under?

What's this language?

Perhaps not a good fit, but might it help someone? In another company which was so chaotic as to not know what languages were being used as they were left to the personal preference of the programmers. What Close reason for this?

If I can get some advice on the above, I can further smarten-up that tag by applying that information to a number of other questions as well.

  • 5
    I would add a comment of vast wit, but I don't know how :P
    – Undo
    Jan 3, 2014 at 0:44
  • 2
    @undo A Sacrificial Anode. Good idea. Everyone upvote that. Jan 3, 2014 at 1:07
  • From column 7, * VAST WIT would seem to be the obvious way. It's really a problem where the reasons for the contribution don't cover the specific reason - and it's not confined to COBOL. SO - Why should @sjpatel suffer a hit to rep when he's only trying to help and hasnt enough rep to post a comment? Sure - need a rep threshhold to prevent random rubbish - but it doesn't fit the available choices - and it's wrong to penalise someone doing all he can
    – Magoo
    Jan 3, 2014 at 5:58

1 Answer 1


I only closed the second one, since it didn't describe the problem. You can look at the close reason.

The others look OK to me. I changed a couple of the titles to make them more specific, so that would-be Googlers don't waste their time on them.

  • Thanks. Seems things aren't so obvious for Closing as I thought, then. Brakes applied... Jan 3, 2014 at 8:41
  • The problem is that the questions are "too localized," a close reason that was removed by SE.
    – user102937
    Jan 3, 2014 at 15:52
  • Yes, I've regretted its loss before now as well. Jan 3, 2014 at 16:05

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