I recently asked a question about how to use the contents of a register in an ex command in nvi here and a discussion ensued about whether nvi is on topic. Prior to asking the question, I assumed that it was on topic because a) vi is in the name of the site and b) a tag for nvi already existed (admittedly with few questions).

I was curious so I tried hunting around for related discussion that might shed some light on the on-topicness of nvi. This question and its answers would suggest yes because nvi is a vi-like text editor. Also, there are many shared features that vim and nvi both have because of their vi heritage.

A comment on a different question, proposes a different test though: whether the community collectively has sufficient expertise in the software to answer questions about it. This would make a strong argument against defining questions about nvi to be on-topic. The documentation on it is very sparse because the editor is not popular. User-oriented documentation or information about customization is also sparse. This post was the most useful discussion I could find anywhere before asking my question. The nvi source code is also hard to read, which I guess is another barrier to answering questions about it.

  • 2
    Yes, it's on-topic. Mar 26, 2019 at 18:33
  • 1
    If it’s not on topic we need to change the name of the site.
    – Rich
    Mar 26, 2019 at 20:59
  • @Rich meta-meta-question: how did you link to the comment? Mar 26, 2019 at 21:40
  • @GregoryNisbet The time of the comment (after the name) is a permalink to it.
    – Rich
    Mar 26, 2019 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


nvi is a compatible re-implementation of the original vi (chiefly for license reasons). It meets all the criteria in What is considered to be vi, and is thus on-topic.

The confusion in the question's comments were simply because one moderator wasn't familiar with nvi, as it's comparatively obscure (can't know everything right). Sorry for the mix-up.

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