back to article MSI tells 97,000 customers to 'Read The F***ing Manual'

Late last week, global hardware manufacturer MSI informed the 97,000+ people registered with its support forums that its reps were "fed up" with repeating information easily found in user manuals. The company even went so far as to say that it had installed an "RTFM" chip on its hardware boards to determine whether users had …

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Joke

Disappointed El Reg............

..........I thought the jargon used was that the personal responsible for this had an "ID ten T" problem?

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Happy

11 years old and still good

http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=19990211

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Stop

it's older than that

I was using it on CICS back in the late 1980s.

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ID10T

I first ran across it on Stanford's Tymeshare, in the mid 1970s ... and it's probably older than that.

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CICS

Still using CICS now. And TOPS...

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Where I am...

...April Fools is also limited to the AM timeslot of April 1st. Anyone pranking in the PM slot is themselves an April Fool.

I'm sure there is a manual for popular cultural celebrations out there. MSI probably should read it.

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Stop

A Title

My parents and teachers tried to pass that one off on me too but I was smart enough to realise that's just so they can get on with their day without interruption from whoopy cushions, stink bombs and hand buzzers. After all, April 1st is April 1st for 24 hours, do you only celebrate Christmas Day for the morning?

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Happy

Well...

...I don't celebrate X-mass day at all (being neither a Christian or a mindless-consumer-drone). But I get your point ;-)

However, a whole day of it gets rather tedious anyway.

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Read The _FINE_ Manual

For the reference - there are two translations for RTFM only one of which contains an obscenity.

So in theory the person who wrote it did not necessarily want to use the f*** word. Anyway it all seems like a classic PEBKAC to me.

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FAIL

bollocks

There is only one meaning of RTFM and it contains an "obscenity".

All the other definitions are simply euphemisms created by the easily offended.

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Friendly

As in "R T friendly M".

Although, IME it's usually a FuBarred manual ...

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Anonymous Coward

Fine???

The more politically correct version is "Friendly" not "Fine"

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Elf
Grenade

I'm sorry, this is damned funny.

Ok I admit that they're off for April Fools. But how many of us have worked in a support role where, really, the users can't follow instructions On The Screen, and so they call and ask how to do this.

I've been fed-up to the point I've gone BOFH, walked to the desk of the Camel-Back Breaking Straw, and removed the computer. Naturally LUser whined at their Boss, their Boss whined at my Boss, and without ACKing my Boss I when Back the Thier Boss and said "I'm sorry you hire incompetant people, this is not my fault and Hey! Now it' not my problem. You say they can't do their job without a computer? I submit that they can't do their jobs *WITH* one.

Somehow I avoided the pink-slip (because MY Boss was a propeller-head before being downgraded to management).

I raise my glass in salute to MSI technical staff.

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Pint

Anyone who works with the public...

...knows perfectly well that a minority simply WILL NOT read instructions, manuals or anything else which may actually help them. In our business, we show important information in bright red capitalised text, several point sizes bigger and underlined, and people still can't be bothered to read it. Then they try to claim we were negligent for not telling them!

The world is full of idiots, but they don't like to be reminded of their stupidity.

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FAIL

no idea how you avoided the pink slip

I'd have fired you.

The job of support staff is to look after idiots who don't have a clue.

Bitch about their stupidity all you like, but don't do it in earshot of the user. Your job is to keep them happy, not to belittle them.

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@Neil Lewis

I think you mean "vast majority", not "minority" ...

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FAIL

Fail Yerself, AC.

"The job of support staff is to look after idiots who don't have a clue."

It is to support them, not to wait on them, not to dote on them, not to wipe their bottoms. When a member of staff cannot do their job properly, management needs to be informed.

"Bitch about their stupidity all you like, but don't do it in earshot of the user. Your job is to keep them happy, not to belittle them."

And when a staff member costs a business money by outsourcing all their thinking to support? I regularly inform my clients when lazy staff are costing my time and their money. I suppose you'd just tell me to shut up. I'd be firing _you_, and that right soon.

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Pint

You must be a magager!!

We don't get paid just to be shat on, and belittleing them once in a while shows the others that their oh-so-important problem maybe isn't quite as important as a site outage by one of the more major servers. (been there, got the T-shirt - although belittleing managers is the best, like the call centre who insisted the screen was broken until I turned up the contrast, or the same guy who was convinced htere was a system problem because the screen he was working on wasn't getting any response - due to the fact the system needed UPPER CASE and he'd left the CAPS Lock off).

Beer - cos that's often the only resort after a long day

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Exactly

"Outsource all their thinking to support" - spot on. We support some people like this, although they don't usually do it again if they have to speak to my boss, who can be breathakingly sarcastic in a very irritating way, for example sp-eak-ing ve-ry sl-ow-ly or just talking louder and louder over them if they try to interrupt. Though not to anyone who pays the bills :-)

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Have had my fill of those boxbreakers myself...

At one time in the distant past we used WinNT4.0 on laptops(*Shudder*) in my organisation.

At one of our more remote locations, one of those crashed... really hard...

When I examined it a few days later, it was revealed that it had crashed because the user had installed a game that was only compatible with Windows 95 on it, supposedly so that his kids could play.

I reinstalled the laptop and sent it back, with a message not to install games on the machine again.

Guess which laptop was back in my hands a couple of weeks later, with the same symptoms and the same game on the HDD?

I reinstalled it, and before I let the user have it back, I told him in no uncertain terms what I thought about him wasting my time on fixing his crap, and that if he ever did it again, I would not only NOT reinstall it, but I would also explain to his superior that he was wasting my time by misusing the organisation's equipment, and also that his crap also resulted in him not being able to do what he was supposed to for days on end.

These days, though, we don't let users have Admin rights on their computers, so they need to come and beg me to install their SW...

'I need to install the drivers for my new camera' - What Camera? You aren't authorized to buy a camera. Only IT can do that.

'It's my private camera' - 'Go get yourself a card reader. They don't need any wonky drivers'.

'But I need the photoediting SW on the CD' - No, you don't. You either use MS Photoeditor which we've already installed, or you can ask your superior for Photoshop.

(We have 350+ applications in use. Not all of them are well-written. We only install SW we know won't break what we already have... )

Sometimes, if REALLY feels good to be able to say no...

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That's how it was at my last job

The users had NO rights on their machine, everything was locked down tightly, full authorisation from managment to refuse service if it's not directly related to the job they need the PC for. NO personal software to be installed, NO personal hardware to be attached. The users weren't even allowed to ask us for support directly. If they tried, were to tell them "No, log a fault with helpdesk." We were supporting thousands of users in local and remote offices with quite a small staff and this method of managment WORKED.

I miss it greatly, where I am now there is too much freedom. The users can access printers, internet, everything but network drives without needing a valid login and even actually have local admin rights on their PCs (sob!) Much smaller user base, much much bigger problems (and job queues).

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We've all been there...

... and have the scars to prove it.

The problem is that we've all been on the oppoite side, but often aren't prepared to admit it even to ourselves.

And how many of us have seen manuals that we are told tell us everything we need to know, but appear to have been written in an Asian language then translated to English via Sanskit. Or manuals that provide instructions for older versions of the product or that are incomplete or incomprehensible.

"If we want people to RTFM, then we have to make a better FM"

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Can we buy them a round?

Anyone else wish they had stuck to their guns and not backed off on it being a joke?

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You don't want customers who read the manual

I used to work in support for a major vendor.

We had one customer who did used to read the manuals. He'd then place support calls and insist we logged defect reports for all the spelling and grammatical errors.

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Troll

Well then,

Proofread TFM. Preferably by two different people. With a proper grasp of English grammar.

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Good for them.

I fully support MSI with their intention of getting people to RTFM. It's a shame they didn't have the bottle to follow it through.

There are too many lazy b'stards post questions in forums without making any effort to find the answer themselves.

Cheers MSI!! :beer:

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Boffin

I worked in tech support for a few years...

Had a user who kept abusing the pointing device... we also had a mouse problem,and the two combined rather nicely.

"My mouse broke again!"

"OK, sir, we'll send one up."

"I'll be at lunch for an hour. I want to see it, ON MY DESK, when I get back, you got that?"

"No problem. 'You want it, you got it, Toyota'"

He did, of course, totally miss the sarcastic Toyota slogan, but there y'go, can't have everything...

He came back from lunch to find an MS Mouse box on his desk. He missed that there were air holes in it. On opening it, the dormouse we'd caught and put in the box scurried out and legged it, stage left.

While the yelling down the phone was at times incoherent, the sense of satisfaction we got from his boss chewing him out for wasting out time again was massive ;-)

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NIce

While I see their point, it might not have been the best way to go about it! I seriously appreciate it though, it's something we would all actually like to do!

However on MSI's part I would say that it would have been funnier if they actually included a user manual with their machines. Neither my U135 or the Wife's laptop (Not even shure what model she bought, I wasn't involved with buying it) came with anything beyond a very basic "plug it in this way" pamphlet.

Also in my present job I would rather like to just take some of the customer's computers away, and tell them they can have them back when they have learned to listen to basic instruction. One of the guys I work with spent nearly 2 hours the other day trying to get a guy to plug his router in!

Anon Post, because i F34r da management!

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Ignorance = Insolence

People really are keen to take offence when someone questions their basic abilities. Instead of the muppets on the MSI forums reacting so vehemently towards MSI they should have acknowledged that they are not using their basic abilities.

Just because some nitwit can figure out which component goes in which socket on a motherboard, doesn't automatically relieve them of the need to read the manual. If I take the time to read the manual of every new motherboard that I work with after 18 years of building PCs both professionally and for personal use then why won't the 'wannabe experts' do the same?

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They just got the tone wrong.

Nice idea for a joke, but if you're going to take the mickey out of your paying customers you need to be ever so careful to get the tone right. Might I suggest they ask Jerry Sadowitz to help with their next April 1st mail out. He's an affable chap whose amiable put downs often coax chortles of self recognition out of a paying crowd.

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Odd that

People don't read a 200 page document.

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FAIL

200 pages?

When was the last time you received a 200 page motherboard manual. The readable part of every motherboard manual I can lay my hands on (and that's quite a few with my history of building PCs) never exceeds 100... and they're usually full of pictures.

You buy a complex product like a motherboard with the expectation of building a PC, you better bloody well pay attention to the documentation or on your own head be it when you blow both it and the $100 CPU you want to put on it.

MSI were absolutely right, and more power to them!

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Grenade

@Paul4 - "Odd that .."

Manuals are not novels. You don't [need to] read them cover to cover. They should have a section to cover setting up, and the rest should be there to look points up when there is a problem. The more potential problems they cover the better.

Btw, well done MSI ! But I hope their manuals are good enough to have entitled them to have said what they did.

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Exaggeration

Ever heard of it?

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WTF?

Some people knew/assumed

that this was an April Fools joke. However, posting such on the forums got their post deleted and/or their account banned. I'm not certain what this means, but why would they go to the length of banning people permanently for making a claim that it was an April fools' joke... when it was?

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Terminator

Gullible Lusers!

Love the idea of the RTFM chip - sounds just the kind of ploy the BOFH / PFY / PFY-acting-as-BOFH would use (along with rewiring the PSU when they next do a site visit to provide a 12kV output that can be triggered remotely...)

And talking of April Fools, I wonder what Google are planning for Thursday? :)

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Headmaster

RTFM is NOT an acronym

It's an abbreviation. Buy a dictionary.

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Alert

it is

you are the one who should check first before posting.

An abbreviation is a shortening of a word (eg: abbrev.)

An acronym is a subset of abbreviations that involves initialisation or similar.

maybe you should have RTFD first !! LOL

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Anonymous Coward

Sorry but ...

RTFM is an acronym. It is also an abbreviation. When one abbreviates a phrase by taking the first letter of each word ... that's an acronym.

Maybe you're trying to reawaken some old argument about initialisms or acrostics, but they're just shibboleths, like most of the non-existent rules that grammar nazis like to hit us with. Sorry ... like most of the non-existant rules with which grammar nazis like to hit us.

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Silver badge

To be pedantic ...

RTFM is technically an initialism ... but acronym will work.

"ElReg" is both an abbreviation and an acronym, but not an initialism; "BOFH" is an initialism, and could be called an acronym in a pinch, but it is not an abbreviation. Perhaps you should RYFD?

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FAIL

RTFD

abbreviation

ab·bre·vi·a·tion / [uh-bree-vee-ey-shuhn]

–noun

1.a shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase, used to represent the whole, as Dr. for Doctor, U.S. for United States, lb. for pound.

2.an act of abbreviating; state or result of being abbreviated; reduction in length, duration, etc.; abridgment.

acronym

ac·ro·nym / [ak-ruh-nim]

–noun

1.a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words, as Wac from Women's Army Corps, OPEC from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or loran from long-range navigation

So it's an acronym.

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Headmaster

Shibboleths?

I do not think the word means what you think it means(look it up), and why did you spell existent correctly & then apologise & misspell it.

Actually, I'm a Grammar Revolutionary Communist - we're always having streetfights with the Grammar Nazis

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Pint

Seriously?

Buy a beer.

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@RTFD

"a word formed from the initial letters ... So it's an acronym."

So you're saying that RTFM is a word? The examples given can be pronounced as a word. RTFM can not.

It is therefore NOT an acronym, regardless of how fervently you would like it to be.

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Headmaster

That's two dictionary fails to you

I know what Shibboleth means. Perhaps you should look at the genesis of various grammar rules. You'll discover they were invented so that classically trained public school boys could look down on the hoi polloi. In short, they're Shibboleths.

On to point two. Sometimes when people type they mistype and misspell (I assume this is why you wrote "streetfight" without a space). Or perhaps you missed the unnatural metre the "corrected" grammar gave the sentence and my point entirely.

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Anonymous Coward

According to whom?

Hmmm. So BOFH is not a brief version of Bastard Operator From Hell?

You can try and be all prescriptive about English, like any good grammar nazi would, but operationally speaking (at the very least) BOFH is an abbreviation of Bastard Operator From Hell, it being a briefer version thereof, and is therefore correctly described as such.

This initialism crap has already been covered off, and you've missed its point anyway. According to some authorities, an initialism is only an abbreviation if it is pronounceable or "word-like". So VAT is an abbreviation if you're saying "vat" but an initialism if you're saying "v.a.t". Retarded isn't it. That's why most authorities never bothered with the distinction.

Lastly, have some recursive acronyms: LAME, WINE, PHP, GNU. Now find me someone who calls them recursive initialisms.

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Headmaster

Acronyms

As you quoted in your definition, an acronym is a "word", as per the examples quoted. RTFM is not a word - how is it pronounced? So it is not an acronym.

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Silver badge

yada yada yada

surely you mean buy a fucking dictionary

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Headmaster

No, *you're* the one who should check

The anonymous grammar pedant was correct. An acronym is when initial letters of the phrase form a new word, such as 'laser', or mimic an existing word, e.g. 'AIDS'.

An abbreviation *can* be a shortened version of one word, such as 'Dr', but also means reducing several words to their initial letters, such as U.S.A.

So, as it is pronounced Arr-Tee-Eff-Emm, not 'Rutfum', it is NOT an acronym.

Ah-thankyou.

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Headmaster

At last...

...someone read the manual.

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