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 …
Perhaps they were also invented to help ensure clarity and consistency, because language, like any medium of communication, benefits from some degree of standardization. Your English is probably not the same as my English, but we can understand each other best if we at least try to follow the same rules.
.. are words and therefore must be pronounceable.
Good examples are NATO and UNICEF.
RTFM is an abbreviation but not an acronym.
"look down on the hoi polloi."
That's pronounced "look down on hoi polloi" ...
And another no back hatcher.
According to which authority, Jimbo? Ay, there's the rub. There are too many exceptions and difficulties and everyone pretty much gave up trying to be pompous about it.
Sure, some grammarians still swear blind that an acronym must be pronounceable, but they'll gut you over your use of sentence adverbs like "hopefully" as well, so you're advised to keep quiet on this one. The world has moved on.
Another bunch of no.
I speak English, not Latin or Greek. Infinitives are split and "hoi" is not the definite article. Take another shot.
Or do you say Octipodes?
Is RTFM somehow completely unsayable? I can convert scrawls on paper to sound with ease. It is pronounceable. It is pronounced artyeffem.
This pursuit of "correct" grammar loses all meaning in the light of actual language usage.
And English is operational you bunch of mindless fuck-shunts. Queen Victoria died and English moved on. Witness Sarah Churchwell blathering on in the Indie about how sentences must have a verb. Really? What a total fucking twat.
Yeah. Some are shibboleths, some are grammar. What's your point?
Oh bloody hell, Sarah, just shoot me.
"I speak English, not Latin or Greek."
Then don't try to mix & match. Which would effectively shut you up, seeing as English is a garbage dump of a language (and one I love dearly!).
I second the vote ... Sarah, please shoot him/her. Ta in advance.
true and funny
RTFM Chips should be installed on everything especially Lusers and they emit a small electrical shock say 50,000 volts for starters and slowly edged up to as much voltage as it takes to cause your socks to fly off and your toes to make for the border.
but thats just me i'd never work in a support role i'm just a facilitator in helping the Luser get what they need a good kicking or high voltages
now as it's sunday afternoon.. and monday is all to close time for a pint or 12
Its only what everyone thinks...
...and support costs would be a lot lower if everyone did RTFM. I think any question that is covered by the manual should have the response delayed by a week. Any question that omits key details should be delayed by a period dependent on what is omitted.
So a "My printer doesn't work" style query may be delayed by a few minutes if you neglect to give the driver version or several days if you don't bother to mention what model or even make printer it it is.
By making it faster to try solving problems yourself and if that fails, encourage useful problem desriptions support costs would go down from not spoon feeding so many utter imbeciles. There is a reason that the average programemr holds the average user in sheer contempt - it is not a matter of prejudice but has been repeatedly shown to be justified.
And so it begins.
If the volume of support issues for users not RTFM'ing, then what will happen when users do? How many of those tech's will be out of a job - fast - in that case?
As for another issue, what about when the issue is documented in a newer version of the manual that the supplier didn't bother to release (yes this has happened, and yes I had the support tech insisting it was "page 30 in your manual sir").
Paris. Brings to mind something that will happen to those techs when the management realise the calls are going to drop significantly.
Never in support, always a user...but I support MSI's message. The fine, fine manuals (the other F version of "RTFM") are there for a reason. Except when they're in Chinglish. :-)
Only the timing was a bit off.
@ Work in Support, Not likely....
"Never. Only people too dumb to get a decent job in the IT industry work in support.
That's why they all have the chips on their shoulder."
I'm guessing you are some kind of "management", or one of those "users" that think they can fix every problem or that because they can create excel Macros.
Ever read BOFH....you people are the reason we love to be in support......
I've been working in It support and administration for 17 years.
I'm a SERVER and NETWORK ADMINISTRATOR!
I also work part-time on the Helldesk(Off the desk these days, but may decide to get back later) because it helps keep me abreast of what the (l)users think they need, and also because it means I get to teach the other helldesk operators a trick or two.
(5500 lusers, 7 - 10 operators, 200 locations, too many servers and printers to count, 350+ applications... We're supposed to answer 80 of calls within 14seconds, and solve 80% of cases 'on the phone'. )
Having server experience, I've been able to 'wake the dead' (server on a remote location), to tell a user which box to reset to bring 'the internet' back online, or a thousand other problems.
And having Helldesk experience, I know which apps users are more likely to need and to plan server setups, migrations, and so on.
Not all the same
Some support roles are simple, some are complex. Don't tar every support centre with the same brush.
When the IBM RISC System/6000 was first launched in 1990, IBM UK employed *A LOT* (100+ man years worth) of very experienced UNIX people to man their support centre (and, originally pick up the phone on the first call, although that didn't last too long). It was even quite fun for a while learning about a brand new platform and UNIX variant while supporting customers. And it was measured on customer satisfaction and first-time-close rate.
It's obviously not like that now, but such is life!
I am sometimes called for *free* help. I have to remember a dozen people's computer specs, and when they want help, usually with really helpful messages like "the internet is broken", my first words are usually along the lines of "okay, if you click on the start button...".
"What start button?"
Bottom-left of your screen. It is green, it says "start" next to a little picture of the windows logo.
"Oh that. What's that for anyway?"
If you've ever done friends and family tech support, you'll probably know how the rest of the conversation goes. And, to be fair, I'm glad it is a freebie as I can always get fed up and pass the buck. You couldn't pay me enough to sweeten talking to somebody who has used a computer for several years and NEVER noticed the start button. Or somebody who believes IE is the only worthwhile "internet" because if it wasn't any good it wouldn't have been included with the computer. Or wants to know why emailing a 5Mb Powerpoint attachment to everybody they know via dial-up usually ends in failure.
But my absolute favourite. A woman get fed up with messages from her computer written in nerd-speak saying things like "Windows has recovered from a serious error" (her box needed a damn good cleaning). Anyway, she wrote a very stroppy message to Microsoft and in the "To" field of her email program she wrote "Microsoft". Her mail server bounced it. She said "if computers are supposed to be so bloody clever, it would have known where to send it".
She's almost right.
It would have known where to shove it.
And her box?
Did you clean it?
As a long term Support engineer I can fully understand why MSI did this.
Customers, mostly males, don't read manuals!
In my current line of work in a electronics shop we had to recently close down one of our till points as it was becoming obvious to the staff that customers were hanging around it to get free technical advice on computers and other electronic devices including things we didn't sell.
They'd often joke that they can't understand manuals and they knew we would try to help.
Word had no doubt gotten around that we knew far more about modern gadgets than PC World staff next door!
PC World staff
Many years ago, I went looking for a reasonably priced IDE harddisc for an Acorn RiscPC. I made the mistake of engaging in conversation with a bloke in PC World (Guildford). He advised me that if I had no more sockets for harddiscs (um, NOT what I said!?!?) for my Amiga (what? WHAT!?) when I should get a Soundblaster 16 card (WTF? to put into an Acorn?!? or even an Amiga!?!) as it has a socket into which I can plug a harddisc (uhhh.... a harddisc? not just a weird sort of CD-ROM unit?).
All the languages and phrases in my head, I cannot find anything to express my thoughts after 'that' little nugget of advice. It must HURT to be that dense...
ahh PC World the home of wannabe techies
I went to PC World to pickup a new battery for my motherboard. some guy in a shirt and smile comes over to me and asks me if he can help. I tell him I need a new battery for my motherboard and show him the slip of paper on which I wrote the battery make and spec (this was probably my second mistake).
Mr ever so helpful said he would go and check for me, he came back a few minutes later and said sorry sir we don't have those batteries here you'll have to go to Maplins!!!
So there is me walking round PC world taking in the new Games on display before I trundle over to Maplins and what do I spy in the corner? A five foot display of batteries with a big f'off cardboard duracel battery potruding out of it!
OMG you don't think...... nah it can't be, because Mr ever so helpful told me they don't have any.... wait what's that?
OMFG it's a battery, same spec as the one I need for my motherboard but wait... it's made by another company than the one I currently had
I felt growing respect until I found out it was a joke :p
Outstanding....RTFM... still laughing....
MIS Manuals are some of the best published. Some Mobo manuals are terrible but their's are very good.
Good manuals are always a consideration when I purchase a peice of kit. Althought I never usually get past the Quick Start Guide but just in case you can always refer to manual.
After all if you follow tthe steps 99% of problems can be avoided
I always liked 'Do you still have the box solution?'
Frankly I feel for the support guys...
I've never worked formally in support, but as one of those "lucky enough to know about computers" (years of effort having bugger all to do with it apparently) I've had more than my fair share of willful bone-idle computer dyslexics, who simply cannot be bothered to make the slightest effort.
Including one friend of my wife, who kept sending us emails to an address that was one character wrong - so we never got them. Why didn't she just press reply to the emails we sent her? God only knows. When we pointed out her addressing mistake, she replied "Well! It's only ONE character out for heaven's sake! For the money I pay they could at least make an EFFORT !"
I later watched as the same lady sat on the phone to a support line, and typed in NOT what she was asked to type, but what SHE decided was more appropriate - with predictable results. The operator eventually hung up on her, and I had every sympathy with him.
Another friend asked me if we had a program to make cross-stitch patterns out of photographs. We do - my wife uses it a lot. She handed us a commercial pattern that had clearly started out as a photograph. Would I convert if back into the original photograph for her? Er... no... it isn't possible. Nonsense, she said - if it works one way it must work in the other - that's just common sense! If you can't be bothered, just say so. So I told her she was right - I just couldn't be bothered...
But the prize goes to another lady (I'm not a MCP honest - but it so often seems to be the female of the species) who asked me to check out her almost non-functional PC. I wasn't keen to get involved, but I was being elbowed by my wife. Plugging in a utilities pen-drive, I informed the lady she had over 40 active viruses and trojans on her system. "How DARE you suggest my computer has viruses!" she said, "I'll have you know my husband is a solicitor !!!!"
The trouble with making things foolproof is that fools are so infinitely resourceful...
"my husband is a solicitor"
Is that solicitor in the American sense or the British sense?
She didn't say....
Difficult to limit april fools to AM
..on the internet, where it's April 1st AM *somewhere* for about a day and a half.
holds clinched fist in air in solidarity with MSI
I've long celebrated a saying from a developer I work with; when you're speaking to someone who refuses to *think*, then you should suggest that they 'Get the FAQ off the site'.
It always makes 'em pause, until you reasonably explain it to them... "Why, what did you think I said?"
Used to work on an IT support desk. Hated it. Funniest one was someone phoned complaining about an icon on their Windows desktop that they could not click and had no title. After some querying I discovered that it was a background tile but the desktop was not set to tiled.
The biggest pain in the rear now is my relatives. They all have computers and are less than clueless about how to use them effectively. I constantly get phonecalls out of the blue asking stupid questions like 'How can I copy this web browser image into my paint program' etc.
I have told one of them that I will only give support for computer problems like viruses or if the computer refuses to boot from now on and they will have to read the manuals or help files from now on. Giving 100's of hours of free computer support to your relatives sucks.
poor, sad excuse for a human being
is your relationship with your relatives reduced to asking for money in return for you help ? God that's sad, I'd suggest you never start a familiy of your own so you can enjoy growing old and dying all on your own, along of course with your beloved PCs.
Yep my mum and sister are just the same, i tell 'em they only love me when i'm fixing there computer for the thrid time in a week.
My sister did get me a good t-shirt for xmas though, 'No i will not fix your computer'. I wear it everytime i go round there houses.
It's not just professionals who have these problems - and at least they're paid for it. Spare a thought for those who have taken the trouble to make themselves computer literate, only to suffer (sometimes very serious) friction with friends and family when - usually after years of acquiescence - we finally decide we don't want to spend every minute of our free time sorting other people's computers for free. If for no other reason than it's almost always a waste of time - you know the machine is going to be unusable again within a week or two - the user has learned nothing and will never learn. You wouldn't believe the state of some of the machines I've been handed (actually, come to think of it, most people here probably would).
One cheeky neighbour (not even remotely a friend) openly admitted to me that he'd turned down the offer of paid support when he bought his PC - "I didn't see the need when we have you living just around the corner." (!!!!) Followed rather quickly by "F...k you mate!! Comin' to something when you can't ask a neighbour for a favour!"
Frankly, the bottom line IMHO is that - even now - PCs aren't consumer devices and aren't going to be any time soon. Which, considering the number of ignorant people who take at face value anything that appears on their screen, is probably causing bigger tragedies than an April Fool's joke.
"Frankly, the bottom line IMHO is that - even now - PCs aren't consumer devices and aren't going to be any time soon."
But wait! Everyone tells you that the reason Linux isn't being shipped on "consumer devices" is that "it's difficult" and that everyone is so happy with Windows which "just works". Don't disrupt their happy little monopoly-bolstering fantasy with the cold hard facts!
I never did nothing
I worked for a firm that supplied hardware to a local education authority. We used to regularly get back machines that had obviously been tampered with. These machines had always "just broken" and "not been opened".
When these machines were returned they had a sticker inside the case reading: "Remember what happened when Nero fiddled."*
*OK it was a probably a lyre - just like the lusers.
I'd support the person who came up with the chip idea.
I wish some sites I use had one,
Just a slight thought.
I don't want to seem gullible, but isn't kind of wrong for MSI to install an RTFM chip without informing it's customers of it's purpose prior to purchase? Also, was it a dual core or quad core or however many core? Intel or AMD? Any other info on it's specs would be appreciated, and could anyone tell me what OS it's optimised for, I'm current a Linux user, looking to upgrade to something that works without being thrown at a wall or beaten into submission.
Microsoft wants 180% of the marketshare
I think the OS on the chip was Linux, but you still have to pay an extra £30 on the board for the Windows Tax anyway.</joke>
/Mines the one with the blue screen in the pocket.
Blessed are those customers that don't have a clue, are too lazy or just plain living in another planet away from me. Bless them all cause they help me get my daily bread and help me pay my phone wireless connection so like that I can answer tech questions from friends and family. Without them, should we say unemployment line! So keep them coming and smile, smile and answer every question that their little heart can come up with!
Blessed are those customers, whose money is less valuable than thier time.
Whilst the answers may be found in the Manual sometimes paying for tech support is the faster and hence the most valued option.. no matter what the tech muppet on the end of the phone may think. its his/her job that will go if everyone always were to rtfm.
But it was an obvious April Fool!
I had this email and its obvious vitriol showed that it was some kind of gag before you got half way through it. Then the idea of a chip that "knows" you've not read the manual is obvious bunk, except in some weird sci-fi world or if Mandlebrain (sci) really goes off the deep end (he'll have a chip that knows what you downloaded).
The clincher is the last three lines of the body of the email:
The only question is, should MSI continue to do this? As some information is real bad.
Will this hurt your relation towards MSI products?
Please let us know, as we have to talk to MSI management <GIVEAWAY>the first of next month </GIVEAWAY] and make them decide what to do with the information.
The first of next month guys - oh its April the first, who'd have thunk it.
Seriously this ought only to have caught out the tired, the clinically stressed, and those who fell for the Nationwide special report on the spaghetti trees problem in the 1970s. Now if was like the famous documentary about conspiracy shenanigans, dead & missing scientists and a secret moon base. Now that was class, and *it only ended* with the visual phrase "This program was originally scheduled for transmission on 1st April."
Not Nationwide, not the 70's
It was a Panorama report , broadcast on April 1st 1957. It was a big deal at the time, because in 1957, no-one had done TV april fools jokes. Especially on an authoritative (at the time) programme like Panorama, which was presented by Richard (father of David & Richard) Dimbleby, who was a current affairs god in those days, and believed 100%.
'spaghetti tree hoax' gave me over 5000 hits on Google.
+1 for Alternative 3 ref
Thanks I'd forgotten the name.
Ah right. "Alternative 3". I just recall watching it largely by accident. There was loads of handheld & secret camera work. Running about. And the notice at the end was very miss-able.
It struck me that it might actually be the source material for half of the (mostly American) Conspiracy theories on the net..... Or maybe the only way they could show it was to pretend its a hoax...
My coat please - its the tinfoil one. Yes, with a hood.
Apologies for not having an encyclopedic knowledge of April Fool spoofs. I'm glad you have the time to google every single thing you post online for accuracy!
I do recall that Nationwide did a lot of spoofs though. It was a tradition before people got so gullible that they complain about it.
Did Vendor even supply a manual or a PDF ?
Many vendors keep "forgetting" to send a paper manual or even a UserGuide PDF on that CD.
A datasheet PDF is not a manual.
...when one does look at the manual/help pages and they are so badly written (with screen shots from a previous version/different model) that they simply don't make any sense or lead to further problems.
If users are calling support, it's because the documents as supplied/available are simply not good enough.
The Daylight Savings Week prank from last year finally kicked in :)
Actually they are rude and uninformed
I've had to use this forum a few times and the so called experts aren't very expert but they have an unfortunate attitude. I cowed one into submission once by pointing out his factual inaccuracies and he half climbed down. So I don't find the pratical jokes inadequacy surprising.
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