22

Lots of very useful vim functionality is available these days through plugins, supported by plugin managers such as Pathogen. I would guess that most experienced vim users use plugins - I certainly do.

To what degree are questions about plugins on-topic? Will we indulge a specific question about a specific plugin? Or should we focus more on suggesting plugins as answers to questions/problems where appropriate?

28

Personally, I feel a liberal attitude should prevail; plugins are part of the practical use of vim in this day and age, and I wouldn't want to see too many plugin questions getting closed on that reason alone.

  • 3
    Although I'd put in some limits. Sure, I'm running Perl through the +perl feature, but at some point my questions are really Perl questions (for Stack Overflow). I think this caveat is pretty obvious though. – derobert Feb 3 '15 at 18:15
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    Agreed - perl questions would be in SO, but questions about how to use a plugin written in perl absolutely belong here. – Cody Poll Feb 4 '15 at 18:03
17

If someone were looking for a way to accomplish something in Vi/Vim, I sure would like them to find this site. These third-party plugins are an integral part of the Vi/Vim experience, so questions about their use should be on topic here.

Stack Exchange works really well for technical support, as long as we're not outsourcing their entire customer support channels to Stack Exchange. Issues like "feature requests" and "bug reports" really do need to be hosted by the owners of those projects, but for technical support — each of these projects tend to have communities of their own, and I see no reason the Vi/Vim Stack Exchange couldn't become one fantastic resource of technical support for these communities.

You should actively embrace and encourage them become part of the ecosystem of this site.

13

Plugins are definitely an important part of the ecosystem of vim. I think we should take a fairly permissive position on such questions, except that:

If a "question" nothing more than a feature request or bug report for a specific plugin, that "question" should really be directed at the appropriate site for the plugin (such as it's Github page).

Similarly, questions along the lines of "I've installed these 700 plugins I barely understand, and now <insert feature here> doesn't work, please debug my .vimrc for me!" are something I'd consider off-topic.

10

If we refuse questions about plugins, there will be a significant gap in the knowledge base. For instance, Surround.vim is the perfect answer to the question:

I frequently have to wrap my LaTeX expressions in $$s, or change my strings from 'c' to "c", or wrap brackets around a function call. How can I easily do this?

I don't think there is an answer as good as Surround.vim which doesn't require the plugin.

  • 1
    Well there are other ...plugins ^^, and also explanations about how it can be written. While explanations could be interesting on a scripting point of view, in the end the DIY "perfect" solution isn't really practical/maintainable for most users IMO (because of redo-ability, register neutrality...). IOW, I completely agree with you: from the moment a solution may involve a :function, "link (+ usage) to ready to use plugins" answers become valid. – Luc Hermitte Jul 17 '17 at 16:41

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