Jon Ericson makes an interesting point in his recent answer (well, really, just reiterates the same point he's been making for weeks, albeit not an insubstantial one): In order to become a successful site, we need to have a solid reason why asking your Vim questions on vi.SE is considerably better than asking them on Stack Overflow. Specifically:

I'm left wondering who is served by this site who would not be served by leaving Vi[m] questions where they are now.

Perhaps a bit severe, but again, it is an argument: If we want a real community, we need to be able to draw in users who don't classify themselves as programmers. Otherwise, why not just ask on Stack Overflow?

This might be more of a question for when we reach public beta, but it doesn't hurt to ask now. Even this early in the site's development, a whopping 31 out of 36 of our top users have Stack Overflow as one of their top 5 network accounts. How do we plan to attract users who aren't using Vim for programming?

  • I've always thought of vi (vim less so) as primarily a sysadmin's editor. What can this site offer to sysadmins? Feb 7, 2015 at 13:04
  • 1
    @Gilles It can answer their questions about using vi for sysadmin tasks! ;)
    – Rich
    Feb 10, 2015 at 11:01

1 Answer 1


If I look at the Area51 commitment page , I see:

committers active in
64.8% Stack Overflow
21.1% Super User
16.7% Unix & Linux
14.8% Meta Stack Overflow
14.8% Vi and Vim
13.7% Meta Stack Exchange

And the commitment text reads as follows:

commit to participate actively in Vi and Vim for at least three months, especially during the private beta, and to ask or answer at least ten questions.

This means that right now, about 35% of the people who signed up for vi.SE are not active on StackOveflow and at least have the intention of being active here.

This doesn't necessarily say anything about these people's occupation of course, they could be a programmer, accountant, or lion tamer. There is no way for us to know, but what we do know is that they're not asking questions or answering them on StackOverflow

There are some things we can do in our answers to make this a more friendly place for non-technical users in general:

  • Don't assume programming knowledge in answers or questions.
  • Don't assume in-depth knowledge about the OS (Linux/UNIX, OSX, or Windows). In fact, don't simple assume the user is using Linux or OSX.
  • Similarly, don't assume in-depth knowledge of commandline tools and such.
  • 1
    I'll have to get used to shaking off that second assumption.
    – muru
    Feb 8, 2015 at 8:50
  • ^ Same. The vi ecosystem is almost synonymous with the *nix ecosystem, but it's also available on Windows. That's about the only thing that kept me sane when I had to take a class on Windows Server administration.
    – Cody Poll
    Feb 14, 2015 at 8:03

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