$a = trueOrFalse("are they on-topic?")
$b = trueOrFalse("is this the best site for these questions?")
if (!$a || !$b)
    pleasePrintBestSiteFor("questions about vi and clones")

*it just made more sense to me this way, and no, i have no idea what language that is.

  • 3
    me likes the questions format, but u could have used a cleaner language :) – tshepang Dec 14 '10 at 8:16
  • @tshepang: i think i just made that language up. it's like a cross between c++ and powershell, which are what I've mainly been working with lately. :P – Robert S Ciaccio Dec 14 '10 at 18:04
  • @calavera I'm not going to write an answer, because I wrote this thread long ago vi is part of SUS so it is even more unix than most crossplatform apps. – xenoterracide Dec 15 '10 at 14:10
  • I've updated our faq does this make things more clear? – xenoterracide Dec 15 '10 at 14:21
  • @xenoterracide: "Applications packaged in *nix distributions (note: being cross-platform does not disqualify)": I don't remember what it looked like before your change, however I think this is still rather ambiguous to the uninitiated. I'm not exactly a noob and even I could get confused. Maybe expand on the definition of cross-platform, or put it on its own line? – Robert S Ciaccio Dec 15 '10 at 17:04
  • Also, I guess since my question was two parts, it's a little harder to answer. The first part is relatively simple... I probably could have just decided that as a *nix site, vi and clones would be on-topic and be done with it. The second part is a little more hazy (and subjective I suppose). Are these the kinds of questions that will be well received, and will they receive expert answers here, better answers than if I were to use say Programmers.SE or SO? So far the answers have concentrated on part 1... I'd like to hear some opinions on part 2. – Robert S Ciaccio Dec 15 '10 at 17:07
  • /slight off topic: This discussion also made me realize why the above pseudo-codish format made more sense to me than listing the stuff out in plain english. I tend to see the second clause of a conditional expression as the more important, and having more weight than the first, if only semantically. If the first part of the expression evaluates to false, we then need to evaluate the second. But if the first had evaluated true, we would have immediately moved on to the code block. So in this case, the second condition has the final say. – Robert S Ciaccio Dec 15 '10 at 17:22

Despite the fact that these tools are cross-platform, I think questions about vi and vim are on topic and interesting. I also think that questions about other popular text editors on *nix systems should be on topic. A few things to consider,

  1. We have already have had a number of questions on these topics that have produced very interesting answers.

  2. vi is part of POSIX and its use tends to be pretty central in system administration.

  3. Since text is the fundamental interface of UNIX, the most popular text editors on unix are probably important.

  4. Many unix programs adopt either a vi or emacs style of line/text manipulation (see less for an example of the former and Bash (by default) for an example of the latter), meaning that knowledge of vi/vim and emacs helps throughout your use of the system.

In fact, I would love to see more questions related to text editors.


I'm strongly in favor of allowing platform-agnostic questions about applications that are primarily from the unix world, such as ksh and vi. I'm also weakly in favor of allowing platform-agnostic questions about cross-platform applications such as Firefox.

However I think it's a bad idea to allow questions related to the integration of Vim, Emacs and so on in Windows (e.g. “Where do I put my .vimrc on Windows?”). That's not because I don't want to see such questions (I actually do, but if I didn't, that's what ignored tags are for), but because I don't expect there to be much Windows expertise on this site. So Windows-specific issues should be on an as yet hypothetical Windows Stack Exchange (or Microsoft Stack Exchange?), or failing that on Super User.

  • 1
    As long as we have a clear criterion, it's good. I think that the number of windows specific questions on vim would make an insignificantly small part of the total vim questions. Right now, I can come up with only a handful without duplicates. So, I don't really think that the matter of windows specific questions should be significant in having vim questions here. – Goran Jovic Dec 14 '10 at 22:50
  • 3
    But yes, now that I think about it: "How do I install Vim on Windows Vista Ultimate ... ?" is quite an offtopic here. – Goran Jovic Dec 14 '10 at 22:51
  • I agree – xenoterracide Dec 15 '10 at 14:13
  • 1
    You can also add: why "DirDiff isn't working on windows?, "How do I programmatically open path that contains spaces?" (which is very windows centred, and yet its answer lies in using fnameescape/shellescape Viml standard functions), "How can the native gvim open the right files from cygwin?", Several questions on the heretic mswin.vim, and so on. – Luc Hermitte Jan 5 '11 at 22:09

I would be most glad if the central place for vim questions, were right here because many vim question are tightly coupled with questions about sed, awk, external shell commands, and after all vim itself is a text editor originating in Unix (I know, it can be run on Windows, too, But it's still a Unix tool).

Most questions would probably be just vim-specific. And most people that know Vim well, are probably using Unix, and their collective knowledge would be most available/concentrated on unix.se (hopefully)

And even if there are Windows specific questions, some of them would arguably still be on-topic on Unix.SE because it is a Unix tool, albeit ported on Windows.


First, I'll want to remind you this thread (which was in a better forum IMO): Vim questions: do they belong to Stack Overflow or Super User? were a bigger majority than the number of people in favour of using SE/unix have already expressed themselves in favour of SO.

Now my opinion. I'm quite tired of this scattering of the vim community -- which I fail to see the point in this tag based world. One wants quality responses, it means the people knowing the tool have to follow 3 different sites (of course it would have been too simple to post directly were vim gurus live (its official mailing-list)). As of today, we have 38 vim questions on SE/unix, 491 on SU, and 2799 on SO.

Must we abandon the other sites to use this seldom used site (regarding vim questions) ? Or must we continue where the knowledge has already proven to be ? If we must abandon a site, it would be best to migrate all questions from the site abandoned.

Now, of all the sites, this one is as appropriate as SO. Indeed the majority of vim questions (and answers) transcend OSes issues (they are platform agnostic, as programming questions are). So far, I have seen a little bit more vim questions in the context of vim being used for programming tasks than questions about vim being used on some very specific platform. Moreover, it's not rare that some seemingly innocent questions that could have fit on SU require vim scripting, (dare I say programming?) skills (I've seen this one today).

As a conclusion, I'd vote: stay were most questions already are -> SO

  • I'm relatively new to SE sites, but it seems to me that there is already a good matter of overlap between Unix.se, SF, SU, and SO. Thus, the fact that there are already vim posts on other sites, doesn't mean they are off topic here. – Steven D Jan 6 '11 at 0:24
  • Also, I am primarily not a programmer (and also not a sysadmin) but I use both emacs and vim. Why would I ask these questions on a site devoted to programmers? – Steven D Jan 6 '11 at 0:25
  • 2
    If I have to give priorities, it would be: 1- have only one site for vim questions. 2- Let it be SO. Regarding your question, it's not about programmers, it's about established vim community (even if vim_use is better). Regarding programmers, they are more likely to have an advanced knowledge on these tools, and to be able to come up with scripting solutions. See my previous link, or even this one: unix.stackexchange.com/questions/4882/… These questions may seem very simple and yet they have no simple answer until we write the plugin. – Luc Hermitte Jan 6 '11 at 0:41
  • 2
    The problem I see is that if we base what is on topic for this site on whether or not there is already an established community on SO, we might as well pack our bags and go home. SO has over 4000 questions on bash alone. – Steven D Jan 6 '11 at 1:36
  • @LucHermitte: I have to admit I agree at this point. Last night I asked a vim question on SO and I received 2 great answers within 5 minutes. The were both so perfect I wished I had been able to choose both as accepted. – Robert S Ciaccio Jan 11 '11 at 16:30
  • 1
    @StevenD, I'm one of these people that don't the see the point in having more than one forum. Specially in a tag organized world. – Luc Hermitte Jan 12 '11 at 15:14
  • @Luc Hermitte: I sort of agree with you there. Although, the TeX SE is quickly becoming one of the most useful sites for LaTeX & TeX--I doubt it would have been without it being a separate forum. – Steven D Jan 12 '11 at 16:08
$a = trueOrFalse("are they on-topic?")
$b = trueOrFalse("is this the best site for these questions?")
if (!$a || !$b)
{ // !TRUE || !FALSE -> This is never called!
    pleasePrintBestSiteFor("questions about vi and clones")

Your meta code doesn't include vi clones, so I'll explain it in human language.

They question about Vi/Vim are on-topic here, because vi/ex is text editor created for specially the Unix, however since Feb 2015 you should consider posting questions about Vi/Vim usage, scripts and plugins at the dedicated Vim Stack Exchange site where they belong. See: What is considered to be vi?

Questions about shell vi mode (set -o vi) should be asked here, however if you've questions about not compatible clones and 3rd party integration (such as [vintage-mode][2] in Sublime, evil, etc.), it should be asked at the SuperUser.

Questions about programming (such as regex), they still belong to StackOverflow.

If you got confused and posted on the wrong site, flag the question to be considered for migration (not older than 60 days).

Related: Vim questions: do they belong to Stack Overflow or Super User?

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