start by RTFM…

…before messing up things.

Just about everything in life comes with a manual, apart from, maybe, life itself. Thus, it makes perfect sense to read the manual first, before testing ones own skills in guessing‐games.

Remember: reading manuals before venturing into setting up or working on whatever you have in front of you, shows that you are quite a bit smarter than those who frequently insist on ignoring manuals and just try their luck.

That usually less than ten percent of what is presented in a manual is of any use to anyone, is a different matter and does not make it less sensible to read the manual first. A few words or parts of a drawing may be all you need for perfect success.

OK, so you may have to scan through an entire manual in search of what you need – past required safety declarations, advises, opinions and general sales‐talk. Should not take long and may be well worth the effort.

I advise everyone to read the manual more than once to begin with, and to keep it handy for future references. You can never read a manual on any­thing too many times.

why should you bother RTFM?

1: it is very satisfying and makes life so much easier, when things just work as intended right away and continue to do so for a long time. Reading the manual first will always help in getting there.

And, when you're bragging about your success, you do of course not have to tell anyone that you actually read the manual first.

2: no need to bother anyone else in the hope that they know what you don't. Most likely they must read the manual first anyway to be of any help, or else chances are they are just guessing and probably are no better at it than yourself.

Sure, it can be great fun to receive a dozen “solutions” from as many friends and/or complete strangers, but unless there are real experts at the case at hand amongst them the process of asking around is most likely a complete waste of time.

yes, I do RTFM.

Unless I am already very familiar with a product, I always go through the entire manual once or twice before even bothering to look at the product or task itself. This practice is such a timesaver that I have no intention of changing it.

If possible I read the manual even before deciding to purchase a product, as the manual either tells me all I need to know about the product, or it probably isn't worth purchasing. These days many manuals can be found online, which means I can deem entire lines of products totally useless without leaving home…

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 23.oct.2013

last rev: 24.oct.2013

side notes.

choose your definition.

You may of course choose the “RTFM” definition that suits you. Your choice doesn't change anything I write, so I am perfectly fine with it.

Acronyms like “RTFM” can be used and/or misused, and quite often they are not presented politely. I assure you, I am only using this acronym to point at a practice that is seen all too often: that people get themselves into trouble with even the simplest tasks because they don't RTFM.

exceptions and additions…

1: I made a possible exception at the beginning of this article about there not being a manual for life itself. Of course, we know quite a few have tried to write such “manuals” up through history.

If you are into any of the major “manuals for life”, I can only advice you to read the entire thing and not bypass any parts because they don't suit you. Incompletely read manuals on anything, are far worse than completely ignored manuals.

If you don't believe any real “manual for life” has ever been written, you may as well leave all potential candidates alone. It is your choice to make – make a wise one.

2: Once you have familiarized yourself with a product or task to the degree that you no longer need a manual, you may be well advised to write one of your own, for yourself, and keep it all at a safe place.

The day when you really could do with a refresh of old knowledge, may come before you know it. Then you will be glad you jotted down and kept even the simplest form of notes on a subject.

www.gunlaug.comadvice upgradeadvice upgrade navigation