Why I don't share my vimrc anymore

Sharing ones dotfiles has become more and more popular with the rise of github. Almost everyone has a dotfiles repository showing her or his dotfiles, including configuration for various programs. Also for vim - the vimrc - gets shared. Much too often as I think!

Why sharing dotfiles? And why don’t?

I had a dotfiles repository, too. Long time ago. I will not share my dotfiles anymore. Here is why:

People share their dotfiles because they want to tell people how awesome they are. “Hey look, I have this awesome set of mappings in my vimrc, which enables me to be fast as light when doing X”. Sharing dotfiles has become some sort of race. Who is the best at manipulating tools to do their jobs more efficient? I don’t want to take part in this race anymore.

Sharing the vimrc is also some kind of opening my own personal working style to everyone. From my vimrc, one can easily see how I work. So it’s kind of an open window into my privacy. And that’s a big no-go for me.

My vimrc has evolved over the last years. A lot of stuff got adapted to my workflow, and a lot of things got removed again. I would say that it is almost perfect by now. But only perfect for me. And this is why I consider my vimrc as big part of my privacy and something which is realy intimate for me. And I don’t share intimate stuff. It’s that easy!

But how do you contribute to the vim community?

Well, one can now argue that sharing the vimrc file is some kind of giving something back to the community and as I do not share it, I do not contribute to the community. That’s true.

But I’m really fine with sharing my knowledge if someone actually asks me! No matter if it is via stackoverflow (I really like to answer questions on SO, if I can) or reddit or personally via email. Sharing experience and knowledge has nothing to do with sharing personal information, I think. And in this context, the “how do I do this” is experience or knowledge and the vimrc (or dotfiles) is personal information.

So, feel free to ask me things about vim, mutt, mpd, git or other tools - I will answer them, of course! But I will not show you my configuration of the tool!