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RTFM Server[edit]

At one time IBM, MIT and several other organizations had rtfm servers. The gopher:// server had redbooks and instruction manuals for employees and presumably customers to access. (talk) 23:37, 22 April 2013 (UTC) RTFM Servers were for Real Time flow Monitoring on the early Internet. The experimental rfc2724 explains the function but most servers were renamed something else. Many Real time Flow monitors have been in place for a decade or more before the RFC came out.Reply[reply]

redirected JFGI - just f*cking google it![edit]

..I'd see a good reason to make JFGI as a seperate page as google'ing in this sentence doesn't mean so much using google but using a proper search (which for some things a more specific source is needed). I see as word google just representing a "the best search engine" in our time, the sentence is different and needs to be explained in what manner it's commonly used...

also: a link of is kindof the point of reading about anything vs. reading the manual (which usually is a pretty stupid idea, atleast on paper with no search) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Joelgrass (talkcontribs) 18:48, 4 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I propose a new term to be used: "LIUOW"[edit]

Look It Up On Wikipedia

too long and unpronounceable, try GSW as Go Search Wiki XOR Google Search Wiki —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:21, 12 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Could we use a new page for SFTW? --CalPaterson 10:24, 26 July 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RTFM - Request Tracker Knowledge Base[edit]

maybe think about putting reference to the knowledge base application would be appropriate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:19, 20 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Redirect from "Google is your friend"[edit]

I landed here due to the redirect. I was quite surprised to find said redirect.

Does anyone (besides myself) feel that "Google is your friend" isn't necssaraily an insult (or meant as one)?

Personally, I myself use it every so often.

Why? Because in order to answer the person's question I, in fact, did a Google search.

My answer to their question begins with "Google is your friend :)" (hyperlinked to the URL of the Google search I did in the case of web forums), followed by a link (or links) to what I found through the search.

The link(s) of course is/are what I feel to be good answers to the person's question.

"Google is your friend", with no other useful information is indeed an insult. But also including what one found through one's "friend" is not.

Google is your friend needs it's own article.--angrykeyboarder (a/k/a:Scott) 04:18, 29 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Shouldn't this be in Wiktionary? And if I move it there, is there a way to make an interwiki redirect? Uncle Ed 19:56, 29 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The criticism section makes it encyclopedic. Also you would have to add all of the related terms as well... - Ravedave 00:56, 5 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is no criticism section anymore. Rudyon (talk) 19:16, 23 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not a new term[edit]

The article makes it sound as if this is an "internet term". I have been a professional programmer since 1978 and I probably first heard this phrase in 1978 or 1979, back when the internet was the ARPANET, and very few people had access to it, or even heard of it.--Rogerd 23:10, 4 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"RTFM is an initialism for the statement "Read The Fucking Manual". This instruction is usually given in response to a question that can be answered easily by reading relevant documentation, and suggests that the inquirer may be wasting people's time." - Doesn't say anything about the internet. "Related Terms" mentions the internet, but not RTFM. I am sure the term was probably around even before the internet. If you can find documentation on when the term first appeared please add it to the article - Ravedave 00:53, 5 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The use of the word "hackers"[edit]

Does this mean "hacker" in the traditional sense? That is, internet criminals? Or simply technophiles in general? The article is confusing only in that sense.

However, familiar with RTFM, I simply find the rest of it utterly humourous :P Kareeser|Talk! 02:45, 19 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You are confused about the traditional sense, as a "hacker" meant someone who was so good with computers that a problem could be fixed. Ronabop 11:02, 19 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes. But there is something very flawed about this aspect of the article; it mixes in concepts like "hackers", "open source" and "Unix" for no obvious reason. RFTM has to do with mixed-experience-level communities of computer users in general (except there has to be documentation available for the phrase to make sense). JöG 22:44, 21 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The original term was as used here, with the term for computer criminals crackers — the confusion courtesy mass media. There is no alternative word for hacker in this context, nor should there be. This section notes a cited opinion that using RTFM toward a hacker in larval stage is a good thing. The use of 'hacker' is entirely appropriate here.

The term was documented as used at LBNL(Laurence Berkeley National Lab) in the early 80's in Cliff Stoll's book the Cookoo's Egg by a person that had been working on Digital Equipments Systems(DOS,RSX,VMS) for many Years as well a Unix(BSD).

Your objection denies the use of the acronym in the cited context. Since you are apparently not part of that culture, how would you know?

Removal of spurious references, —if and only if they are spurious— I won't object to. In fact, as elsewhere mentioned, I also think that the restriction to internet forum (with the link only mentioning the family of bad reinventions of USENET) right on top of the article should be removed as spurious.

Referring people to The Fine Manual is something that happens everywhere. The unix community has had a long tradition of high-quality reference manuals (manpages) and if you have them you might as well use them. The open source community often, but not always, follows suit, for the simple reason that people have better things to do than to explain individual others just how to use the software. Both may need their own sections to keep them out of the introduction, but their mention is not by definition inappropriate. 22:15, 7 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I believe I was using the word elitism within its intended definition. Take the first sentence of Elitism as a technical definition. "Elitism is a belief or attitude that an elite — a selected group of persons whose personal abilities, specialized training or other attributes place them at the top of any field (see below) — are the people whose views on a matter are to be taken most seriously"

People who use the term RTFM, ie, hackers or aspiring hackers, believe that their views on how to get help on topics, ie. extensive personal reading, and are hence being elitist. Even the common connotation of elitism fits the bill here. The people that know most about the system refuse to help people who don't know as much. I don't believe that it is a waste of time to personally answer questions for people, even if they are copy and pastes from the relevant FAQ's. Cut and paste still gets people interested. Ansell 23:57, 24 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Usually all they need is to be pointed in the right direction. They're lost and don't even know what keywords to search for, the program has no documentation, they don't know what program to use or what manual to read, they don't know where the manual is, etc.
The "counter-criticism" section is absurd and poorly written. I intend to put this through a rewrite, but I might not get around to it. I'll add some articles to the External links at least. I notice that some of this talks about "hacking" and other parts are about OSS. That might be key to fixing the "counter-criticism" section. In "hacking" (whatever that is), elitism is the goal, but in OSS it's not?
Should add some stuff about usability engineering theory and user interfaces that don't require documentation, too. — Omegatron 20:42, 20 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Elitism is not necessarily a goal in hacking, you can aspire to be more competent in an area without even comparing yourself to others. Bergsten 10:34, 1 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I alway thought this meant "Remove The Fucking Monitor". No wonder it never made since...

Anyways, may I suggest that the "Relate Terms" section be moved down near the "See Also" section? I would do it myself, but I thought I would ask to see if anyone else agreed with me. --Lewk_of_Serthic

  • No-one disagreed. Therefore, Sir Lewk, your wish is my imperative. Minmi 12:30, 7 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sentence in first paragraph[edit]

What's the purpose of the sentence "although new users may not know how to properly access the manual" in the end of the first paragraph? For me, it is not informative and can be safely removed.

It sounds as if someone were trying to justify one question that got a RTFM response.

Samuelrivas 06:48, 21 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree, the first paragraph should define the subject of the article in a succinct way. While I realise some object to the usage of term, the sentence do not belong in the first paragraph. I am therefore removing it. Bergsten 10:16, 1 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nice. It looks better now. Samuelrivas 16:59, 2 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


WTF, merge it. ;-) Lou Sander 20:41, 13 October 2006 (UTC) (And IIRC, there's some good, but not-too-well-sourced, material on origins and usage in the RTFQ article. IMHO, a good combined article would include it.)Reply[reply]


The page was created a few days ago by me, a few days ago, I added a definitoon that was edited and adapted from another source and meant to edit it further today. I noticed that it has been completely edited, and I feel that I should re-edit it. I will be editing it over the course of a few days, so it may take a while, but it will eventually be an encyclopedic definition. Thanks for your time. BTW, Remove The Fucking Monitor? LMAO.


They are both part of the "RTF*" family in my opinion, so making a new topic would suffice, IMO. :P

Needs an etymology section...[edit]

Speaking of which, it is interesting to note that was the primary site for UseNet FAQ archive.[1] --DavidHOzAu 04:14, 6 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"F*cking" vs "Fine"[edit]

When I looked it up, the article said it stood for "Read The Fine Manual" which I've never heard before. Assuming whoever said it meant that just didn't like to swear I've put it to "F*cking". "Fine" is even in the list of alternate words to use instead of the F-word, so that didn't make much sense.
Porty 13:03, 15 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd call that a misinformed vandalism. :) --Gvy (talk) 13:41, 27 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm pretty sure Read the Fine Manual has always been the polite form... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:14, 20 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree and I added it to the text. It would be strange to not mention this polite form at all (as was the case at this moment... ) Yvolution (talk) 14:23, 21 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just seen "Read the Fantastic Manual" on Debian wiki page... Not that meaningful to add all the possible combinations to the list, there are already many possible combinations just by replacing "Fucking" with another "F?????", even just to make this sentence more polite, ei? -- (talk) 15:19, 4 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Origins (factual error?)[edit]

I take exception to the assertion that this term was recently coined, or is an internet phenomenon. My father was a Marine Corps officer, and told me many years ago (at least back in the 1980s) that RTFM was military slang for Read The Field Manual, referring to the (excessively long) documentation that accompanies every piece of military hardware and/or action. Embarassingly, I have no sourcing for this other than the word of my (now deceased) father, but given the timeframe during which I was told (and, at least to me, the reliability of my source) I don't know that this article is factually correct. Suggestions? /Blaxthos 17:54, 15 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Documented use in the early 1980's in Cliff Stolls book, 'The Cookoo's Egg'. But then the Letters may have had multiple meaning over the years. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 30 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

intelligent in-context help[edit]

Although, of course, there is the argument that users don't read manuals because designers, knowing that users don't read them, don't bother to make them very useful. Regardless of original cause, this problem will be mitigated as the 'intelligent in context help' paradigm comes into play.

I call bullshit and flamebait. 'Bob the dog' and 'Clippy'. Need I say more?

If so, I'll say that this is an assumption that certainly is not universally agreed to. Least of all the people that tell other people to RTFM. Therefore, I make it an unbalanced and opinionated prediction. 22:24, 7 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

MIT's RFTM collection of FAQs[edit]

The original collection of FAQ documents at MIT at should be mentioned in the usage section since it's been a major usage of the term, and contributes to the term's meaning. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:45, 25 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Related terms[edit]

The related terms section needs to get cleaned up. As it stands it is an unsourced list of acronyms, related or unrelated to the article. Including about 10 different variations of RTFM ("Read The Fucking Manual Asshole", really?) and this gem "Use The Fucking Wikipedia". I'm sure we can find sources to cite for the well known acronyms (RTFA, FTA, FGI, TFA) and that is all that should really be on the page. I also think the bottom matter (newspaper, etc) should be placed in a new section (e.g "Other Uses") and properly cited. BJTalk 10:35, 6 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Digital used to have amazing manuals[edit]

In the mid 80's I worked with Vax/VMS systems by Digital. There were dozens of volumes of loose leaf binder manuals. They were amazing. Well organized, comprehensive, and relatively easy for a motivated newb. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:31, 7 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why is RTFM censored?[edit] (talk) 01:19, 10 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"an FAQ"[edit]

I apologise, I was not aware that this is improper English. Do you know somewhere I can read up the correct (if apparently absurd) use of the English language in an easy-to-read way? I've been meaning to do that for a while. —[semicolons]— 20:36, 9 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not sure what the original question was, but use of a/an is dependent on the initial sound (always sound (phoneme), never letter (grapheme)) of the following word. Since FAQ can be pronounced as eff ay queue or as fack (and undoubtedly other varients), a or an could be used before it. ie An eff ay queue or a fack (talk) 02:24, 29 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Forgot to mention one of the amusing RTFMism I've come across: go FAQ yourself. (talk) 02:25, 29 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
kek (talk) 00:59, 13 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Didn't know some people read it as "fack."

Is the (full on) profanity necessary[edit]

Now, don't get me wrong... I'm no wowser but when I went to school "RTFM" stood for "Read The Flamin' Manual", and it was (and is) bluddy good advise, which I should really take up much more often.

Ya see, us Ozzies have been swearin' full on and flat out for near on 250 years now ... I mean whaddaya reckon six months in a leaky boat (for daring to eat) would do for __your__ outlook life, and your vocabulary? ... So yeah, practice, practice, practice... and we reckon we might know a thing or two about it by now!

So I'm here to bluddy tell ya'!!! A big part of being good at bluddy swearin' is "Time and Place"... And I gotta tell ya' the "Fucking" in "Read The Fucking Manual" is outta place... "Fucking" simply has no place in the context of a meaningful helpful useful Wikipedia article! (Unless of course (as previously noted) The "Fucking Manual" in question happens to be the Karma Sutra... read it: seriously, it's an eye-popper-anna-arf).

When I direct a noob here, I'm attempting to "give 'em a clip round the ear 'ole" (for being a putz), as apposed to a "punch in da 'ead" (for being an asshole)... so Yeah, to me "Flamin'" would be much more appropriate than the full on "Fucking" variety... I just don't thinks it's called for. I don't think it adds anything, and is therefore (by definition) superflous, where-as "Flamin'" carries the exact right note... at least it does in this part of the world.

I actually started to edit the article to "fix" this oversight, then I asked myself "Who made you the last word on it", so I'm posting this here comment, trying to get a discussion off the ground... and if this here discussion fails to get itself off the ground, then I reckon I'll just go Fix the effin effer my very effin self... Because if it's one thing I know about... It's how to cuss, properly!

~~ Cheers. Keith ~~

I am an American and am in complete agreement on this point - "RTFM" (and related terms like "WTF?" and maybe even "FUBAR") seem to me to be lower-level cuss words - more of a moderate swear word, less than a full-blown offensive cursing. Although some people react very negatively to these terms, my (thoroughly uneducated) guess is that those people would also react negatively to the more moderate alternative terms like "flaming", "frigging", "freaking", etc. and thus the use of "fucking" here overstates the strength of the term RTFM. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Bit confused by this. The term is RTFM, not Read The Fucking Manual, sure RTFM is an initialism deriving from the term, but they are different. Unless you are one of the people who automatically expand all initialism in their head, so USA becomes United States of America, and DNA... well you get the point. The initialism obscures the vulgarity (incidentally, it is more precisely vulgarity rather than profanity), and without having an etymology it is possible that it was first used as an initialism with this purpose (to obscure the vulgarity) and likely much mirth was derived explaining the meaning of the initialism to the noob, but this is speculation. So, the linguistic reality is that RTFM does not equal Read the Fucking Manual. (talk) 02:36, 29 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is a page about a colloquial term. The 'profanity' is justified and to omit it would under-describe the life of the phrase. Sure. profanity may offend some people but that won't change the fact that some people are profane. I work in the technical/construction industries and can say that "Read the fucking...." is in regular usage. Maybe not in the office much but certainly on site. In the midst of a days work it's easy to get exasperated by stupid questions, that could have been answered by reading the documentation you received 2 month prior. Like the rest of us.


UTSL (Use The Source, Luke) redirects here, but isn't mentioned on this page? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kelly.terry.jones (talkcontribs) 19:55, 6 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I removed the following external link:

While the link was relevant, the link here was clearly just advertising it (I suppose it could be included with a more serious note attached). Purple Paint 21:41, 26 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Paragraph "Use and overuse" needs rewording[edit]

If found paragraph Use and overuse a bit confusing. Cited examples are I think well-chosen ( "no RTFM" policy, How To Ask Questions The Smart Way, Joel's advices how to design user interfaces), but I thing paragraph needs rewording to make clear that cited sources does not speak for/against/about using RTFM in the same context, but that these citations shows how attitude towards RTFM response differs in different contexts.

The sentence "This argument is only applicable when used with other hackers, however, given that the concepts surrounding open source software are designed to be suitable for use by non-hackers" in context it is placed is unverifiable claim and/or original research. It is without source, but it clearly is not general opinion - RTFM is considered valid response towards non-hackers by some people in some situations - see article How To Ask Questions The Smart Way which is referred two sentences before. And it makes general claim about "concepts surrounding open source software are designed...", which is off-topic here and without clarification not true (or precisely non-verifiable) - it is easy to find examples of open source not designed for non-hackers like some command-line tools for programmers or low-level operating system administration. Therefore I recommend to delete this sentence.

However, I am not sure I am the right one to rewrite this paragraph, so first I am expressing my opinions here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Waeland (talkcontribs) 18:58, 30 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Deletion or Merging[edit]

I think this article is highly irrelevant and should be either deleted altogether or merged with the Internet slang article. Thanks --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 07:01, 7 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There was life before the internets; I'm not saying this article is terribly important, but it's not Internet slang. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:42, 8 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I recall this term from well before the internet (recently demoted to small-i internet), but mainly from online culture, of which the present-day internet is merely the one ring to rule them all (same forge, same fire, same flesh-optional blacksmith).
Paring away non-online usage (sorry, Brothers Grimm), I doubt this would be a notable topic deserving its own page. It's mainly through online information ubiquity that one justifiably sidesteps having to ask whether the fine manual is available to the slovenly noob you're berating off the cuff; the implication now having evolved all the way to where the slovenly noob is not just lazy in relative terms, but lazy in absolute terms, as reading the manual would likely have been—on reasonable presumption—more accessible, quicker, and altogether easier than venturing onto BBS Usenet & Sons, to add your damp special snowflake to the communal Chinese water torture. Was that ever true off line, or even on dial-up?.
My main point here being that the notability and historicity arguments should not be construed as independent, and that RTFM gained a lot of its specific present force precisely from the shared social context of electronic ubiquity culture. — MaxEnt 20:51, 23 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Care to pro+vide a rationale for that? I'm removing the merge template, as I think this topic is plainly independently notable. Fences&Windows 15:13, 1 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


for some reason "wikipedia is your friend" redirects here.--Spongefrog (talk) 16:19, 9 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Meta moment. RTFA! :-) — ¾-10 03:15, 10 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I just wanted to tell you guys that this is a great page. I found it humorous and helpful. Perfect length, great info, entertaining and interesting. The use and overuse section explained both the history and the current internet culture and climate of the terms use. I really enjoy this page. Thanks. Bwergg (talk) 08:22, 10 July 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And God bless Wikipedia and the horde who take the time to write these, what some might call trivial, pages. Not all of us can remember every acronmy that exists and it's a blessing to be able to find a meaning in seconds via a page like this.Tgdf (talk) 00:01, 22 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Original research?[edit]

The newer section "Context-sensitive factors in determining (in)appropriateness" seems to contain a lot of original research. Whereas some of the individual statements have references, the overall concept doesn't appear to reference a reliable source. Is there, for example, a source which compares RTFM with The Ant and the Grasshopper? --GentlemanGhost (talk) 19:43, 19 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

never heard of RTFSM[edit]

nor can I find a reasonable reference for it. nor does it make any sense to me. and two subsequent edits (talk) 19:43, 29 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

An academic study of RTFM[edit]

BTW: I published a study of FAQs and RTFM as a practice (as it relates to geeks and geek feminists) that folks might want to make use of in the article. -Reagle (talk) 13:07, 13 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Interesting. What's the cite? Would also be nice if you have a pointer to a full-text on-line version. Thanks, --Macrakis (talk) 14:32, 13 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

the double life of RTFM[edit]

Expurgated? Way too strong. Half the present value of RTFM is its interesting double life as both "read the fucking manual" and "read the fine manual".

Not at all atypical text message among geeks:

Crap! Frobbing the futznitz didn't work. Looks like I'm going to have to RTFM.

Not at all typical text message among geeks:

Crap! Frobbing the futznitz didn't work. I must be a faggot.

The vulgarity of 'RTFM' is extremely circumspect in modern usage as compared to a vulgar-to-the-core word like 'faggot'.

Diplomacy is full of locutions where the primary value is that they reasonably swing both ways (angry/bemused or encouraging/threatening), because so often in life not drawing out an immediately precise line in the sand is the better part of winning friends and influencing people. — MaxEnt 21:02, 23 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Add about the commands in this . Like input and outputs cimmands (talk) 11:15, 21 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]