So, it's been a year since we entered private beta. From Area 51:

  • 4.4 questions per day
  • 91% answered
  • 1.7 answer ratio
  • 1,251 visits/day

For a few months now, we have held steady on these stats (visits per day dancing around a bit). I take that to mean we have staked a claim on a corner of the Interwebs, and made it our own. Congratulations, everybody, and thank you for your excellent contributions!

According to the new graduation criterion, it doesn't look like we will be graduating any time soon, but we won't be going away either. If I may say so myself, moderation hasn't been much of a problem (moments of controversy will always happen) - flags and reviews have been handled in good time.

So: Thoughts? Suggestions?

  • 7
    Remember when the powers that be at Stack Exchange insisted that Vi and Vim wouldn't work as a practical Q&A site? Well, I think it's safe to say that they've been proven wrong. \o/
    – Doorknob
    Feb 4, 2016 at 1:57
  • 2
    @Doorknob I actually don't really agree with that. The question wasn't about whether a vi site would generate questions, it was about whether such a site would answer questions better than Stack Overflow, SuperUser, and Unix.SE. Someone should probably crunch some numbers and see how things turned out. Are questions answered more often? Faster? With better quality? Did we attract a significant amount of people not active on SO? Etc. I've been intending to do this for the 1-year anniversary, but other projects have taken up my time :-( Maybe for the 1-year public beta anniversary ;-) Feb 4, 2016 at 11:05
  • Do you mean "suggestions" specifically in the sense of "what could we do to move towards 10 questions/day and graduate?" Or in the more general sense?
    – user72
    Feb 4, 2016 at 16:34
  • @Carpetsmoker one of the doom and gloom SE employees might have already done it. :D
    – muru
    Feb 5, 2016 at 4:02
  • @JoshPetrie either. Both. It's been some time since we had a major discussion on meta. Just trying to get a sense of the community now.
    – muru
    Feb 5, 2016 at 4:04
  • 3
    @Carpetsmoker My gut feeling is that questions here are answered with better quality than Vi questions on SO (although not necessarily faster or more often). Whenever I stumble across a Vim question on Stack Overflow, it seems the answers tend towards solving the problem as quickly as possible and occasionally are misleading or straight-up incorrect. I feel like the answerers here strive much harder to fill in all the detail and explore alternative solutions the OP might not even have considered. I have no actual evidence to support this: it's just a feeling.
    – Rich
    Feb 5, 2016 at 10:54
  • A few thoughts: I enjoy this site very much. I agree with @Rich regarding superiority of Vim answers here vs. Stack Overflow (with one famous exception) but there is one drawback to this site that struck me right away when I found it: we are, for the most part (ignoring original-vi and similar), a community dedicated to a single piece of software...which has excellent built-in help.
    – Wildcard
    Feb 15, 2016 at 8:28

2 Answers 2


It's a great mile-marker, and we should all be proud.

We need to be attentive to the fact that our site is not out of the beta stage. We are still not as healthy as other sites that have been in beta less time than us.

If we can improve the number of questions asked per day, then we will be a healthy site.

Thanks to anyone else that has more elaborate comparisons of beta site health, and timelines.

  • 4
    I feel that the questions/day metric isn't that useful to measure "site health". 5 questions a day, 50 questions a day, 1 question a day, who cares? As long as there are people willing and able to write answers of a good quality I think the site is "healthy". The SE people already stated that having sites in "perpetual beta" is fine, so there are no fears of anything closing down as long as it's active. Feb 5, 2016 at 6:40
  • 1
    Just in terms of sheer breadth of scope, I think any site will be hard-pressed to beat Law. :D
    – muru
    Feb 5, 2016 at 7:08
  • @Carpetsmoker I have been participant in 3 or 4 betas that were shuttered. If that policy is in effect, it is recent to the past 12 months or so. Feb 5, 2016 at 15:27
  • 4
    @NewAlexandria Yep, about 7 months or so: meta.stackexchange.com/q/257614/270345 (that's why I said we won't be going away)
    – muru
    Feb 5, 2016 at 16:00
  • 2
    @muru Don't forget Philosophy -- still in beta after almost 5 years. It's not about scope; in fact I think the more successful ones lately have usually been specialized (as vim is) not generalized (as "editors beta" would be).
    – goldilocks
    Feb 7, 2016 at 21:09

How has the existence of this site influenced Vi(m) questions on other Stack Exchange sites? Here's a count of questions about Vi posted each month on Stack Exchange sites:

month    Vi   SO   SU  Unix  Ubuntu  Apple  TeX
2014-09  _    273  42  26    7       1      1
2014-10  _    300  34  16    11      0      3
2014-11  _    261  25  16    5       2      6
2014-12  _    244  27  20    7       1      2
2015-01  _    298  29  23    8       1
2015-02  377  300  30  26    20      2      2
2015-03  178  272  23  30    8       5      3
2015-04  120  226  19  29    10      1      4
2015-05  121  252  33  25    9       1      1
2015-06  109  205  25  13    8       4      4
2015-07  125  252  31  20    13      0      2
2015-08  159  245  25  31    9       8      4
2015-09  146  240  19  17    14      2      3
2015-10  155  251  25  18    7       4      1
2015-11  138  230  22  17    4       3      1
2015-12  148  222  23  19    8       1      1
2016-01  119  242  27  25    14      1

Conclusion: Vi.SE is stagnating and has only had a small influence on the rest of the network if any. I hate to bring this up, but the numbers for Emacs are noticeably different.

I'm not saying that this site is doomed. But so far it hasn't shown quantitative success.

It would be interesting and useful to see whether Vi.SE has been qualitatively successful. Are answers here better than on SO? And more generally, are answers here better than elsewhere on the Internet? I propose to do something similar to the old community self-evaluations:

  • Take a sampling (pure random or biased?) of answered, positive-scoring, open questions.
  • Compare their answers with what can be found elsewhere, with particular attention to what can be found on SO.

How many questions would we need? (Enough to have meaningful results but not so many that it's tedious.) Should we make a pure random selection or should we try to categorize (e.g. programming vs not, troubleshooting vs looking for a plugin, …)?

A plot of the three-month average figures from the above query:

enter image description here

  • 1
    Purely by eyeballing the numbers, we have taken about 50 q/m from SO from what looks like an average of 300/m before us, while we have 100+ q/m. So, a sixth of the questions from SO, but still more questions in total than were asked previously.
    – muru
    Feb 9, 2016 at 4:12
  • Do you have numbers for accepts and answers? I feel like on SO the unanswered rate has gone up a lot since vi.stackexchange opened.
    – FDinoff
    Feb 12, 2016 at 1:21
  • 1
    @FDinoff data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/435514/… → the accept rate for [vim] goes down for more recent questions, but not more so than the average over all tags on SO. Feb 12, 2016 at 13:18

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