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On, we strive to be as friendly to new users as we can. RTFM (usually standing for "Read the F*cking Manual") is mostly used in an unfriendly manner as a response to new users asking questions which to advanced users sound silly or they know the answer is somewhere in the manual.

Even if new user asked a question which indeed does have an answer in the manual, we believe it is better to point them to it in a friendly manner rather than stamp them with "RTFM" in their face!

Hence this "No RTFM!" sign. Eye


It's good to know!

It's good to know! Smiling

Not at all whisper!

Not at all whisper! Smiling

I hope I'm not being too

I hope I'm not being too annoying.. :lolol:

Agreed. Sometimes a newbie

Agreed. Sometimes a newbie should really go out and search or read the manual, but we don't have to be rude about that. I mean, if we should reply we better say it nicely rather than throwing yet another confusing acronym at them with an exclamation mark.


I think most people assume a user is entirely capable of using a search engine: A search for "man page" on Google reveals a site with a listing of man pages.

It gets very annoying retyping what a man page is 4,000 times, and it's almost as annoying looking up the explanation for them each time in order to link it.

People should never complain about technical assistance they get for free.

Hehe, man that makes me feel

Hehe, man that makes me feel kinda sorry for those guys. All the reason more to be nice to them. All of us were newbs at some things some time so we're not somehow better than them so much. Smiling

I imagine there will be

I imagine there will be quite many people who have tried typing "RTFM!" in a program they didn't understand Sticking out tongue .

That's even not as bad as

That's even not as bad as posts that say nothing but "RTFM!" and that's it. I've seen it numerous times. Though yes, an explanation of what exactly is a man page would be better than just saying to read it.. I can imagine how that can confuse a newbie.

I still remember once (on

I still remember once (on another site) being told to "read the man page" - of course I didn't know what a man page was at the time...


Right on AndrewB. It's true

Right on AndrewB.

It's true that sometimes newbies ask questions that are quite obviously answered in the manual, and that angers some people, but if you are going to respond to his question than you better make it worth something. Just throwing a RTFM wont do. The newbie might get to the manual, but he wont think any highly of the RTFMer for that. If, however, you at least try to be polite and politely say "read the fine manual, here's the link for ya" that'd speak much more higly of you. (hypothetical "you" of course).

As for Eric Raymond, he's a smart guy who knows his stuff, but he's also the role model of elitism, as far as I can tell so far. And I don't like elitism, neither do newbies (who I once was, afterall)

Sombodys old signature on

Sombodys old signature on LFDO wrote:

A guru does not know all, but knows how to find out.

I think that is true.
You should show users how to find the answer, by showing them the door.
The best way to learn is for them to try and walk the path themselves, but with guidence.
Hence RTFM is wrong, it should be a more
'Here is how you would find out'

thanks ESR for teaching us

thanks ESR for teaching us all this wonderfuk acronym !

RTFM and STFW: How To Tell You've Seriously Screwed Up

There is an ancient and hallowed tradition: if you get a reply that reads “RTFM”, the person who sent it thinks you should have Read The Fucking Manual. He or she is almost certainly right. Go read it.

RTFM has a younger relative. If you get a reply that reads “STFW”, the person who sent it thinks you should have Searched The Fucking Web. He or she is almost certainly right. Go search it. (The milder version of this is when you are told “Google is your friend!”)

In Web forums, you may also be told to search the forum archives. In fact, someone may even be so kind as to provide a pointer to the previous thread where this problem was solved. But do not rely on this consideration; do your archive-searching before asking.

*insert slightly offensive word here* Eye