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/R T F M/ Read The Fucking Manual (always abbreviated, sometimes bowdlerised to "Fine" or "Friendly") An (unhelpful) guru's traditional response when someone asks a question in a newsgroup or mailing list which he could have easily answered for himself had he bothered to RTFM.

The term may also be used to indicate that you couldn't find the answer in the manual. E.g. "How do I interface Unix to my toaster? And yes, I did RTFM but the FM didn't help and I can't RTFS."

Other derived forms include RTFAQ, RTFB, RTM, and, more recently, STFW. Compare: UTSL.

This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)


(Read The F***ing Manual) The last resort when having a hardware or software problem! Of course, this has been a sad but true state of affairs for decades. Most people avoid reading manuals whether printed or online because they are often difficult, if not downright impossible, to understand.

Within software applications, countless help screens mention menus but neglect to tell the user where to find them, and the help index generally lacks the most basic words a person might enter to find out how to do something. In short, documentation in the high-tech industry that is even modestly readable is a rarity (we hope this encyclopedia is an exception). See technical writer, user interface, tech support and how to find a good computer book.

It's So Bad, It's Laughable
Poor documentation is so pervasive that InfoWorld magazine used to present its Documentation User's MalPractice (Dumpy) award to the worst offender. Although hardly coveted, there were always numerous candidates.

A Unique RTFM Message
This notice came from the 2012 issue of Maximum PC magazine's guide to building your own PC.

To the Point
Although nothing to do with technology, this Wet & Forget mildew remover warning was so original, we had to include it.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Nevertheless, RTFM was observed in thin films of ZnO-C prepared by electron beam evaporation [35].
Some of the shorthand is amusing: RTM for "Read the Manual" (a good one for technical writers) or often RTFM (translation unneeded!).
answers; many are available through FTP (File Transfer Protocol) from rtfm.mit.edu in the directory /pub/usenet.
World-Wide Web FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) Most recent edition available via ftp from rtfm.mit.edu in/pub/usenet/news.answers/www/faq.
wustl.edu for microcomputer software; rtfm.mit.edu, the repository for USENET newsgroups' FAQs; or, hydra.uwo.ca for library-related documents and programs.