I cannot flag this question for deletion, nor vote to delete it. It has been apparently decided that it should be locked, so that it may fester in our backlog permanently.

I disagree.

I should like to see it deleted as it provides zero value outside of what you could get reading the latest opinions of old technology on any tech opinion site Article. So I leave it to the community to vote for this here as the right to vote for it's deletion on main has been removed from us.

Why aren't young programmers interested in mainframes?

  • FWIW I checked the question in incognito / logged out mode to see how it looks for a typical web visitor (this is very different from active sort view, especially for 10K users who can see deleted stuff). For an outside passer by, it seems to look fairly respectable, answer quality declines more or less smoothly from top to bottom, and apparent garbage starts appearing only after one scrolls about 9/10 of very long page
    – gnat
    Oct 5, 2015 at 14:33

2 Answers 2


I don't see a purpose in deleting this question.

I removed the low quality tag of junior-programmers and deleted all of the negatively scored answers. I've also removed the mod notice about long answers. Right now, the question is closed as too broad and has a historical lock placed upon it. This should be a clear indicator to any visitor that this type of question is not suitable for the site and they shouldn't use it as an example of questions they should ask or ask similar questions here.

Beyond that, I don't think this question should be deleted.

First, it has a large number of views. As of right now, it has over 53,000 views over 4 years. That's something like 37 views per day, every day, for four years. It's probably linked to on other sites - I understand that Y Combinator picked it up. It could be referenced in other sites and posts as well. Deleting it would remove context from other posts and discussions on the Internet.

Second, it's a popular question. The question received 55 up votes and only 4 down votes before it was locked. The top answer received 98 up votes and 0 down votes. In addition, the question was favorited 25 times. This kind of response tells me that, at one point in time, this was considered a good question. With today's standards, I'd call it "primarily opinion based" or "too broad" (which is the close reason given). This change in direction is the reason for a historical lock.

I don't buy the argument that this question will bring people to the site to ask similar, low quality questions. Anyone who lands on this page should see that the question is closed and historically locked (which explicitly states "it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here"). There may be Meta.SE suggestions to improve the visibility of these notices (they are below the question) or perhaps to take steps to hurt the ranking of locked questions in search algorithms, but those are SE level suggestions that should be fleshed out and taken to Meta Stack Exchange.

At this point in time, I don't feel comfortable deleting (or letting the community delete) this question. Is it a good question for Programmers? No, it's not. And that's why it's closed and locked. Does it add value to the Internet? Someone thinks that it does, or else it wouldn't have had so many views, up votes, and favorites (as well as in-bound links on other sites).

If other mods disagree, I'd be open to doing more. I don't feel comfortable doing more on my own. But given the recent visibility into this particular question and how we've been handling dealing with old, low quality, but highly visible questions, I don't see deletion as viable at this point in time.

Relevant and related: Why was "Why aren't young programmers interested in mainframes?" re-opened?

  • 3
    my flag from Sep '13 says it had 22K+ views back then, meaning it has got 30K views in last 2 years => still actively visited. I think this is the case when we better "harm the site" by keeping the question around than harm the Internet by deleting it
    – gnat
    Oct 5, 2015 at 15:05

This answer is a place to hang your votes if you disagree with Thomas Owens.

Yes, unlock and delete that question.

  • It is off-topic because it is borderline career advice and does not fall under any of the "on topic" reasons.
  • It is primarily opinion-based.
  • As time goes on, the answer may change. It is too dependent on the current state of the job market.
  • Several of the answers are a bit ranty (Thomas deleted some of these).
  • Nothing constructive will come out of this question. Yes, we know mainframe technology is old and crusty and very few people want to work on it. There is no point in going down a dead end road and arguing about it.
  • 1
    For the record I agree with Thomas Owens and gnat, I am just providing a signpost for voting purposes.
    – user22815
    Oct 5, 2015 at 17:21
  • 2
    Yes. Which is probably one reason that snowman looks so much like a bad practice-dummy. Oct 9, 2015 at 1:28

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