RTFM vs. JATFM - Fortune

RTFM vs. JATFM

I recently had to figure out how to do something with wget: get everything below a directory on the web-server, without following links to outside it. So I logged in to FreeNode’s #debian channel, where there are many knowledgeable people to ask it. The first answer I got was "RTFM". So, I read the wget man page, but could not find it there. Eventually, after telling people that it would be faster to give an answer, I got a reply ( add the -np -r flags). But this has been the last straw.

I composed my own acronym. Just like RTFM is "Read the Fabulous Manual" and STFW is "Search the Fabulous Web", then JATFM is "Just Answer the Fabulous Man". It means that it’s usually faster to answer someone’s question than to ask him to RTFM, which is just going to annoy him. I think the RTFM mantra has done a lot of damage in the UNIX/Linux world, and I hope JATFMing would prove to be a more healthy ideology.

Author Shlomi Fish
Work Advogato.org Journal Post