a real RTFM reply to a request for help can be quite informative if it really does tell the user that the answer to their question can be found in the manual.
I have yet to see an RTFM that did not assume
that the manual had not been read.
OK, that's one (1) thing. There's another, more important thing, to my mind, although I may be a bit more sensitive to it than most.
Let's say I post a help request. Maybe the answer is in the manual, maybe not. Let's say it is in the manual, but I did not comprehend it. Pointing it out to me does not really help, if I did not understand it the first time. See, when you make that response, whether you're really trying to help or not, you have no idea who is on the receiving end, how well they understand what's available to them.
Over several years, I've helped dyslexics deal with PCs. (I was amazed at the number of different types of dyslexia!) OK, these kids aren't dumb. They do have a different learning mechanism than is utilized in mainstream education. It's equally effective, it's just different.
And, several decades ago, I spent something like eighteen (18) years training folk to run mailing and bindery machinery. That was a bit different, in that physical presence was required. But I might have to say the same thing a half-dozen different ways
before the ah-ha!
moment occurred. The difference, of course, was that being physically present, I could see
So, not having that physical presence, you cannot see whether I've had that ah-ha!
moment. But, you could
assume it did not occur when I read the manual. That assumption doesn't often happen. And even if you do point out chapter and verse in the manual - once again assuming I've not read it - that may not help. After all, I didn't understand it the first time.
So, RTFM is never
a valid response to a cry for help. If I haven't read the manual already, I probably won't, in spite of your admonition. If I did read, but not understand
it, even pointing out the location in the manual won't necessarily help. If you're going to respond, try an answer in your own words, otherwise you'll just waste your time and frustrate me.