Why was this question closed with "This question does not appear to be about Vi and Vim family of editors?"

How much money has been raised for needy children in Uganda from Vim?

  • It's about Vim
  • it's a specific question
  • It's not opinion based
  • 3
    Furthermore, I would add: 1) being difficult to answer does not make a question off-topic. 2) The question is not frivolous — it's on the topic of whether charityware is a viable source of revenue. Feb 8 '15 at 17:36
  • 1
    I don't know. A lot of Canonical-related questions are on topic on AU, but I wouldn't ask about Canonical's financials there.
    – muru
    Feb 8 '15 at 19:46
  • (Note: question is now reopened.)
    – Doorknob
    Feb 8 '15 at 20:20
  • @muru A bit of a false analogy. Aiding Uganda is part of the mission of Vim. Promoting free software is Canonical's mission. "What free software has Canonical funded the creation of?" might be an analogous Ubuntu question. Feb 11 '15 at 8:51
  • @200_success Now that's a false analogy (in part because: wrong page). Pursuing the analogy, if someone asked how many governments & businesses have switched to Ubuntu because of Canonical, I'd VTC it as off-topic.
    – muru
    Feb 11 '15 at 8:57

I was the 5th voter, and I was thinking two things at the time:

  • The reason chosen for the existing 4 votes weren't very descriptive for why I voted, but were preexisting reasons and take precedence over custom reasons, so I didn't bother typing one out.
  • Donations haven't stopped (so far as I know), so the total is just going to keep changing.

Carpetsmoker's year-by-year find pretty much gets around my main concern, so rather than argue for it to be closed again, I'd suggest putting something like "as of 2015" in the question title to lock it to a certain time period.

  • 1
    Or we could change it to "average yearly as of x year".
    – Seth
    Feb 9 '15 at 5:07
  • 1
    @Seth That would be misleading, since the amounts vary from €5,000 in 1995, to €80,000 in 2014 ... I Added an "as of 2015" note btw, thanks. Feb 9 '15 at 7:47
  • 2
    I still don't agree; following your reasoning, other acceptable answers would be how many lines of code make up vim? or how big is the user base of vim? . Lots of research to give approximate answers because of the question being not time-constrained.
    – guido
    Feb 9 '15 at 11:23
  • 4
    @guido "How man lines of code is vim" would be a rather silly question, but I don't see anything wrong with it. "How big is the user base of vim" would probably be closed as primarily opinion based. We need to be able to distance ourselves from other sites like Stack Overflow to be allowed to continue and I don't see how rejecting any "non technical" questions about vim helps that goal any. This could very well be the deciding factor about whether we are allowed to continue or not.
    – Seth
    Feb 9 '15 at 14:18
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    @Seth I committed to the site and am here because I think the space for this community does exist; but as it is a beta I am interested to see how much question topics can be stretched, and this, in my opinion, crosses the line by far. There are already plenty of questions in this beta, which are not strictly or technically related to programming; that would be accepted and answered on SO just because there is no vi/vim dedicated website. Thus I don't see the urge for accepting questions like these.
    – guido
    Feb 9 '15 at 14:34
  • @guido I think you will find that SO doesn't just accept vim questions "because there is no where else to go". SE themselves said as much.
    – Seth
    Feb 10 '15 at 6:18
  • @Seth I understand you think that, and personally don't care what SE themselves said about it, but if questions such as this: stackoverflow.com/questions/13358816/… exists on SO, I could not find any other justification (if not reputation whoring). Or can you see any relevance in that question about programming?
    – guido
    Feb 27 '15 at 4:33
  • @guido I don't see how that question has anything to do with the issue being addressed here...
    – Seth
    Feb 27 '15 at 4:40

In my opinion, it should not have been closed.

  • It's about Vim. Vim users are strongly encouraged to donate, and people who donate more than €10 are a "sponsor" and can vote for Vim features. It's almost impossible to use Vim and not know about this; the Vim start screen mentions it, :help license does, the Vim website does.
  • it's a specific question.
  • It's not opinion based, and an answerable question.

Our "What types of questions should I avoid asking?" says:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site

The question is answerable, not chatty, not open-ended, and states a problem (finding out how many Vim users donated to ICCF).
I agree this is not a "practical" question in the meaning of "being able to be put to use", but I do think it's interesting. And since it ticks all the other boxes, I think that's "good enough" to be considered on-topic. Blindly following rules has rarely done anyone any good.

A 5 minute search reveals:

So it seems that this sort of question isn't out of the ordinary on other similar SE sites. None of these questions are closed, and all have high votes on the question & answers. These sites aren't overrun with these questions either, from what I can see.

  • 1
    The question is open-ended because it is not time-constrained. It is chatty because there is no official source for that, in facts your research for answering ended with a rough estimate (which in this context, could actually do HARM more than good, but this is not the point here).
    – guido
    Feb 10 '15 at 22:40
  • 1
    @guido "not time-constrained"* Well, few answer are, in absolute sense; many Ruby on Rails 2 questions are not valid for RoR 4.2 (I've come across many outdated RoR questions/answer on SO) ... "chatty because there is no official source"; this is not the meaning of the word "chatty", which is "having a conversation" ... "ended with a rough estimate" You don't know what the answer will end up being based on the question. That's why it's a question. The answer "we don't know" or "it's not possible" are perfectly valid answers, which is really what the answer here is in the end (AFAIK). Feb 10 '15 at 22:48
  • 1
    @guido I also don't quite understand why you think my answer "could actually do HARM more than good"? If my answer if flawed, please say so! I'd much rather edit or remove my answer if it is. Feb 10 '15 at 22:52
  • Because you say the figure is X, let's say it is a high number. But in reality it is X/1000. Then someone lands on the question page, hey look how much money was donated and goes away. Or maybe the opposite. You tell a number which we don't know it is true; how are we supposed to vote? For the effort? Telling somebody else numbers about money, even if charity, is hardly a wise thing. That's because this question's answer is something that would fit a bloody linux fanzine, or a forum, or a geek blog, not a q&a website about a software tool. Anyway, I am worn down by this discussion now....
    – guido
    Feb 10 '15 at 23:03
  • "based on actual problems that you face" that relate to USING vim. The problem that you face is not practical and has nothing to do with vim as a software. Similarily "finding out the most common favourite colour of vim users" can also be described as a "problem" (and may be guessable by looking at colour schemes), but would be completely off topic as well. If vim users donate to Uganda or are KKK members instead does not influence using vim in any way. And yes, there are crappy questions all over the SE network, that doesn't mean we have to start crapping up this site as well.
    – l4mpi
    Feb 11 '15 at 10:50
  • 1
    @l4mpi "finding out the most common favourite colour of vim users" -> You keep giving these straw man examples. This is not the same thing. This is non-answerable and chatty. It also has nothing to do with Vim, as people with "yellow" (no, wait, blue! AAAAAAHHHHH) as their favourite colour aren't called "Vim sponsors". Feb 11 '15 at 10:54
  • I even said how it could be answerable; and it's just as chatty as asking for the amount of money raised (what practical use does that info have for using vim? What if there's a zero more or less? It does not f**king matter at all). And you keep on completely ignoring that IT IS NOT A PROBLEM YOU FACE THAT RELATES TO USING VIM IN ANY FORM. I'd say "what is a vim sponsor" would be a bad but borderline on-topic question, but "how much money did the sponsors raise" is a bad and definitely off-topic question. Here, my answer is 123456$, now what? It's completely useless and plain chatty.
    – l4mpi
    Feb 11 '15 at 11:00
  • I'd even argue knowing the most common favourite colours of vim users would be more useful than knowing the amount of money. At least the colours can be put to practical use when creating new colourschemes and plugins. The information gained from the charity question will never be useful in any way while using vim.
    – l4mpi
    Feb 11 '15 at 11:02
  • @l4mpi completely ignoring that it is nota problem you face -> I didn't ignore this; I addressed this in this answer. You may disagree with that, and that's fine of course. Also, your "answer" of "123456$" is not sourced, mine is, from the official reports... Anyway, I think we're best off to "agree to disagree" on this and leave it at that, since I don't think we will ever agree. I understand your points, and I disagree with them (sorry)... I'd offer to buy you a beer at this point and chat about something else, but the internet makes this difficult unfortunately :-( Feb 11 '15 at 13:04
  • Well, you didn't answer how it relates to using vim or any part of its ecosystem; or how it's useful in any other way related to vim. Otherwise, it wouldn't be different from any answerable question that contains the word "vim" in it. It's asking for trivia, and that should IMO be off topic. Re beer, google maps says a trip would take about two hours but that's too long for a weekday...
    – l4mpi
    Feb 11 '15 at 13:23
  • @l4mpi You're right, it's not about using Vim; I don't mind (in this particular case), you do (for reasons that are reasonable), that's the fundamental disagreement ... Also, 2 hours isn't that far, actually. Email (in profile) me should you ever be in the neighbourhood, I will buy you a beer. Meeting people off the internet is always fun! Feb 13 '15 at 22:32

I did not cast a vote to close myself, but just because I did not notice the question.

Yes, it is about vim, and yes it is not frivolous and not opinion based, but it is still off-topic, because, simply, it has nothing to do with text-editing using vim.

Also, the topic of whether charityware is a viable source of revenue, would be on-topic in a q&a site about software licensing. Or would we accept the same kind of question for any software tool relevant on SO?

  • 3
    "it has nothing to do with text-editing using vim" -> but the site is about Vi & Vim. Not about text-editing with Vim... "the topic of whether charityware is a viable source of revenue" -> This is not what was asked! "would we accept the same kind of question for any software tool relevant on SO" -> This is not Stack Overflow. Feb 10 '15 at 12:38
  • @Carpetsmoker I am sorry but I don't really get any of your points. Would you guys please stop freaking out about this site not leaving beta alive? And stop trying to harvest the most improbable stuff just to make this community different? In a very few days the good questions in here already demonstrated this community would deserve to live and shine, if it just could get enough people in it (and well that's unpredictable, yet, very likely).
    – guido
    Feb 10 '15 at 13:36
  • 3
    Well, I never mentioned anything about leaving the beta :-) I just genuinely thought (& still think) it was an interesting question. I would not have spent a hour writing an answer if I didn't. I've been seeing the 'send money to Uganda'-message for more than 10 years, and was curious what the results might be... Feb 10 '15 at 14:13
  • 1
    @Carpetsmoker interesting != on-topic. It's simply not a question about using vim; thus it's not useful. You could otherwise make the same argument for asking "What's the favourite food/colour of the vim authors" or "how many people contributed to vim" or similar things that are marginally related to vim but have nothing to do with working with vim in any way.
    – l4mpi
    Feb 10 '15 at 14:40
  • 3
    "interesting != on-topic", yes, this is true of course. What I meant to say was, "I thought it was an interesting on-topic question about Vim"... Your "favourite food" example is a false analogy, as this is a) effectively unanswerable b) not about Vim, but about Vim authors c) Vim doesn't start with "send me my favourite food, love Bram", but does start with "send money to Uganda, love Bram" ... You're right that it has nothing to do with "working with Vim", but I don't think that automatically means the question is off-topic. It's still about Vim. Feb 10 '15 at 14:51
  • 1
    "how many people contributed to Vim" might be an on-topic question by the way (perhaps it could be better phrased though, maybe as "Who are the primary Vim developers", or some such ... You could probably get this from a hg log) Feb 10 '15 at 14:54
  • 2
    @Carpetsmoker the question was indeed interesting, and your research for answering much appreciated (ie deserved my +1); but offtopic. offtopic for MY idea of how this site should be. if you even accept question like who are the developers, or how many lines of code, you are making this the level of a DIY/BBQ fanclub. That's definitely NOT my idea for a vim community. Love BBQ tough.
    – guido
    Feb 10 '15 at 15:02
  • Vim doesn't start with "send me my favourite food, love Bram", but does start with "send money to Uganda, love Bram" - that's exactly what I mean. If it starts with "Please watch this infomercial about pet spiders", that doesn't make pet spiders on-topic for vim.SE. It seems like a reddit post of trivia knowledge, not like a SE question which I expect to be a high-quality, useful reference. The charity doesn't have anything to do with vim except for the fact that the authors endorse it, and even if it was founded by them, that still wouldn't make it on-topic for a techincal community.
    – l4mpi
    Feb 10 '15 at 15:10
  • 1
    If I correctly understand yours & @l4mpi reasons for considering this OT, it's "this is not a how do I do foo with vim"-question. There are already a number other of such questions (for example: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Those don't have close votes, and are roughly similar to this question (ie. not technical, but about vi)... Is this an oversight? Or are these questions different? If so, how? Feb 10 '15 at 15:40
  • 1
    @Carpetsmoker not "it's not a howto", but rather "this is not a technical question about a specific problem with vim". I'd argue the "what's a plugin" question, while broad, is rather useful for writing or understanding plugins. The vim forks and neovim questions are useful for understanding how those fit into the vim ecosystem and history (it also has the technical use of knowing what you deal with when you ssh somewhere and only have nvi). On the other hand, "How do I capitalize vim" is IMO off topic and "why does nobody use vimballs" is barely saved by the answer but feels opinion based.
    – l4mpi
    Feb 10 '15 at 16:01
  • 1
    @l4mpi So the grounds are that this question isn't "useful" then? But seems a very subjective criteria to me. I consider both the capitalisation & Uganda question to be useful... I don't see how one can determine this in an objective manner, do you have any idea's on that? Feb 10 '15 at 16:08
  • 2
    @Carpetsmoker how exactly is the charity question useful in a vim context? In my opinion it's simple: this site is about vim the software; about using vim in every imaginable (non-nonsensical) way. Not about the authors or their favourite charity or what vim command looks best on a t-shirt or other such tangential stuff which has nothing to do with using/extending/scripting vim. A few exceptions might be made for awesome soft questions, but at its core this should be a technical site.
    – l4mpi
    Feb 10 '15 at 16:28
  • 1
    @Carpetsmoker vi.stackexchange.com/questions/490/… is a very broad, opinion-based, crappy question that I'd like to close for instance, and I didn't just because there is a good answer. Your other 4 examples to me, sound good.
    – guido
    Feb 10 '15 at 22:46

I posted a comment on the question itself, before find this discussion.

1. Move discussion to chat.

While it is an interesting topic, I would maybe discuss it in chat -- especially since OP has the rep for that. There, people can talk about the editor in terms of opinion -- do they like the charity it is supporting? Do they donate themselves?

2. Move to another SE site (if possible)

As others mentioned, the question was not about the functions of vim, but rather its use as a donation tool (for lack of a better phrase). I am sure there is another SE site this question can be moved to, but vi/meta does not work. It does not refer to the software's function nor the SE site's maintenance.

3. Change the title

The "worst" part of the question is the title. It screams off-topic if you are not aware that Vim donates to charity. I am not sure of a better title myself.. Maybe:

Given that Vim is charity-ware, how many users actually donate to its causes?

That tells readers what kind of software vim is. Personally, I did not know until yesterday it was charity ware, as I simply install it via command line on Linux. No need to check the official website. But a title like that draws (possibly) a direct connection to vim and its "features." (Ones outside of configuration, like use in the "real world" so to speak.)

  • 1
    1) At least here in meta it's easy to lookup; not so much in chat IMHO... 2) What other site do you propose? I don't mind moving it as such. 3) Yeah, that title is perhaps slightly better, but I think the people who consider this question to be OT have carefully read (& understood) the question, and consider it to be afundamentally an off-topic subject. So no change in title is going to change that. Feb 13 '15 at 22:24
  • I said I don't know what site to move it to. I am simply trying to offer suggestions to remedy the issue at hand
    – user486
    Feb 13 '15 at 22:27
  • The proposed open source site might be a good fit ... I added it as an example question Feb 13 '15 at 22:38
  • Why in the world would you move a question about vi off of a site about vi! That makes no sense.
    – Seth
    Feb 20 '15 at 3:33
  • @Seth, that is the whole point of this discussion. It is about vim as charity-ware, NOT as a tool for text editing NOR using its functions/available plugins for that purpose...
    – user486
    Feb 20 '15 at 13:50
  • @onebree that is completely true, but this site was created with vi as its topic. These questions are either on-topic here (which I've yet to see anyone give a good reason against) or they don't belong at all.
    – Seth
    Feb 20 '15 at 16:25

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