Etymology of RTFM

Ever wonder where the term RTFM came from? An excerpt from a paper on Socialization in Open Technical Communities:

One of the oldest open communities maxims I'm familiar with is RTFM: "Read The Fucking/Fine Manual." The Google Group archives are an extensive archive of Usenet messages, a pre-Web bulletin board type system on the Internet, from 1981 to the present. The first instance of "RTFM" usage in the archives is a 1983 message referring to the VMS mainframe computer community:

Try looking in the Master Index to the VMS volume set. There, under BACKUP, you will see a pointer off to appendix B of manual 4A. This appendix describes the BACKUP tape format in some detail. The VMS people have a cute little piece of advice for people who are too slug-headed to read the manuals: RTFM. (Reason 1983)


Ported/Archived Responses

Trackback from American Digest on 2004-01-14

Ever wonder where the term RTFM came from? An excerpt from a paper on Socialization in Open Technical Communities: "One of the oldest open communities maxims I'm familiar with is RTFM: "Read The Fucking/Fine Manual." The Google Group archives are an extensive archive of Usenet messages, a pre-Web bulletin board type system on the Internet, from 1981 to the present. The first instance of "RTFM" usage in the archives is a 1983 message referring to the VMS mainframe computer community: "Try looking in the Master Index to the VMS volume set. There, under BACKUP, you will see a pointer off to appendix B of manual 4A. This appendix describes the BACKUP tape format in some detail. The VMS people have a cute little piece of advice for people who are too slug-headed to read the manuals: RTFM. (Reason 1983)" -- From Joseph Reagle...

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