In an answer to a related question about vi-mode in bash, an answerer asked what would be next. Given that the operating system that shall not be named (the one that swaps constantly, even given 8 MB of ram) has been reported as being used as an editor and supports a plugin called evil featuring a vi-like input scheme, is it on-topic here?

  • Also discussed at the emacs.SE site: meta.emacs.stackexchange.com/q/6/6543 Feb 20, 2015 at 12:23
  • @Carpetsmoker You say it's a duplicate, yet your answer directly contradicts the consensus there.
    – Doorknob
    Feb 21, 2015 at 0:25
  • @Doorknob Oh? In what way? I just elaborated on my 3rd "suggestion", and even derobert's answer really says the same thing, even if he doesn't make it a 'rule'... In any case, I think it's more useful to have a single question about this, and not a gazillion about every possible combination unless there's a good reason to (for example, the bvi question, which is more complicated). Feb 21, 2015 at 0:29
  • @Carpetsmoker Hmm. I don't see anything about having to be a stand-alone program in derobert's answer (in fact, it specifically states that this does not have to be the case). Perhaps the question should be more specific (or the answers should be more complex) — evil questions are on topic if and only if they are directly related to the vi-like behavior ("directly related" is still a term that needs to be expanded upon).
    – Doorknob
    Feb 21, 2015 at 0:34
  • @Doorknob From derobert's answer: "If you want to know why Visual Studio is giving some weird error message when you try to save a file, that's for Stack Overflow or Super User. If you want to know the keys to hit to quickly change all the occurrences of "foo" to "bar" in the brace-delimited block your cursor is in, that's on-topic." ... This is pretty much the same thing... Feb 21, 2015 at 0:37
  • @Doorknob In any case, my point in marking this are a duplicate is that my answer below could be copied/pasted in the "What is considered to be vi?" question with minor modifications (which I will do later), this would keep the discussion about it in one place... I don't see any reason why we need to have a discussion about evil, as such (except maybe that questions about it have a good home already at Emacs.SE) Feb 21, 2015 at 0:39
  • @Carpetsmoker Alright, fair point; that makes sense. I've added my duplicate vote as well.
    – Doorknob
    Feb 21, 2015 at 0:43

2 Answers 2


I think that most, if not all, questions about evil should be asked at the Emacs.SE site. Not because I don't like Emacs, but because those questions will almost certainly get better answers there.

There is a broad consensus that questions about evil are on-topic on the Emacs site, and there are already 18 of them. Most seem to have good answers.

If you look over the questions, and especially the answers, then you will see that it requires Emacs expertise to give those answers, and not vi expertise. Do you know what these answers do? I certainly don't. I don't even understand the question, since it assumes you know what M-. does in Emacs.
After all, evil is really just a bunch of key mappings and commands built on top of Emacs.

This is why I put this restriction in my answer for 'What is considered to be vi?':

It must be a stand-alone program; so a plugin for Visual Studio that gives you vi-like keys doesn't count.

Because most, if not all, questions will be about the underlying platform (Visual studio, Emacs, and such), and will require expertise in that platform to answer.

This doesn't mean you can't ask questions if you're using evil. I have never used it, but I would suspect that many vi-questions on this site already work. But these questions are not really about evil, as such.

  • 1
    And although we have slightly different criteria, I think we come to the same conclusion. That elisp is definitely not "vi-like behavior" (to quote from my answer on the other question).
    – derobert
    Feb 24, 2015 at 17:21

Let's see; does it meet the criteria we set earlier?

  • Its main purpose is a text-editor; anything other that has the vi user interface paradigm (as so far as one exists) is far too broad a scope. — Check.

  • It must be mostly compatible with the original vi for all basic operations; where mostly is not precisely defined. — Check.

So, yes, I don't see why evil shouldn't be on-topic.

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