One of the hardest things about tech support, is not getting fed up when people ask for help and then don't follow the advice you give.


Fuzzy thinking abounds and communication is hard.

Patience, me, patience.

The fact is, people who are good at following instructions literally, usually aren't the ones asking for help.

Being able to Google things and then turn instructions into action, is one of the skills that sets techies apart from others.

That's why RTFM is such unhelpful advice. It just doesn't work for some people.

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@HerraBRE I feel for you. I maintain angular-google-chart, and in it's hay day I was getting support questions all the time from people who just didn't get Angular.js or JavaScript in general.

Sometimes it was a teaching opportunity, but other times I just had to give up. As a volunteer, I just didn't have time to teach them what they need to know. I try to be polite about it and push them in the right direction to find what they need... but I'm there to provide support for the library.

@HerraBRE I want to add here that RTFM is never really the answer, because the two most common scenarios:

People read the manual and the thing is just not there. Often accompanied by "did you try X", after having stated that X was already tried thoroughly.

People read the manual, but the manual is written in a way that's incompatible with them. Usually incompatible thought patterns, but that can be other reasons.

@maxinered To turn around and disagree with myself, sometimes RTFM is the answer.

Some people ask for help very early, before doing any homework at all. This bugs people, because it's disrespectful of people's time.

Of course, HYRTM? (Have You...) is very different from RTFM and much more often justified.

And everything you say is still true. ๐Ÿ˜

@HerraBRE I find HYRTM is much more polite and definitely a better choice.

My problem is more that I am one of those people who read the manual first, can't get going with the instructions and then just get "RTFM" when asking stuff.

Or I see so often that people don't even read the question and just come up with common responses like RTFM (in public spaces).

Though, I think asking for help in public spaces is best, so people can decide to spend time or not.

I really don't understand why I web search stuff for ppl when they could easily do it themselves?
It's weird. Faster then emailing me questions.
I see they've expanded to other engines. No, I don't send that out. That would be mean and rude.

@HerraBRE The worst RTFM I've seen was one where the manual was short and very clearly did not cover the problem. But the person going "RTFM" was insistent because about ten years ago, and before an interface overhaul, when they were learning the software it was there.
They only bothered to check the current manual themselves after several people repeatedly said it's not in there and told them to either point out where it is or shut up.

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