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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.


(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 documentation manuals, which includes online help, because they are difficult if not downright impossible to understand. Countless help screens neglect to tell the user precisely which menus to select to find the function in question, and the indexes generally lack 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.

Still Around
This notice came from the 2012 issue of Maximum PC magazine's guide to building your own PC.

Instructions Are Sometimes Helpful
This has nothing to do with computers, but the failure warning on Wet & Forget mildew remover is so "to-the-point," we just had to include it.