Top 7 Reasons Why I Didn’t RTFA

Posted by: Rea Maor In: Social Networks - Sunday, December 16th, 2007

If you don’t go on social news sites a lot (lucky you), I have to explain that “RTFA” stands for “Read The Fine/Fun/F*%#ing Article” and is generally bandied about in the discussion section of said social news site. Anywhere in the comment threads, you’re likely to bump into someone who asks a question or makes a comment from which it is obvious to tell that the speaker didn’t RTFA. Sometimes, that person is me, and the responses are “Didn’t you RTFA?” At times like these, my response goes a little something like this:

Top 7 Reasons Why I Didn’t RTFA:

1. The web page is a Portal to Hell. – Ads, pop-ups, ads, Flash, ads, a video that started screaming at me, ads, a flyover Javascript box obscuring the article content while it asks me to take a survey, and still more ads. Look, I understand that we’re all trying to monetize content on this Internet frontier. I have ads, too. They don’t get in the way of the content. When my monitor levitates off the desk, starts spinning, and chants a Cthulhu incantation, that’s a sign that you’ve gone too far.

2. The article is written by a dyslexic chimp. – I’m talking about professional, corporate websites, too. I’m no spelling and grammar Nazi, but at least make it legible. English isn’t even my first language, but I’m at least able to find the settings for spell-checking English on my text editor.

3. The article is astroturf. – When the title is “top X reasons why Linux is the spawn of Satan.”, “Apple is teh SUX0R.”, or “Why my favorite candidate is the second coming of Zeus.”, I know that I’m looking at the same paid-for corporate think-tank spam cut and pasted since 1998. If the whole purpose is to attack a group, it’s not an article; it’s a bomb threat.

4. I saw it already. Like, twenty-five times. – Yes, I know Paris Hilton got arrested. I know because when I was born, the doctor pulled me out, slapped my rear, looked in my face, and screamed, “Paris Hilton’s been arrested!” They delivered me early just to tell me. Since then, the same story has been spammed to mainstream media every single day. By the time you posted a link to this story, it isn’t “news” anymore, it’s “olds”.

5. Read what? – The title that you used to submit the story is actually longer than the article itself. It’s a one-liner on Or it’s a completely unfounded rumor based on hot air without a link or alternative source to back it up. Or it takes 500 words to say exactly the same thing that the title said in ten.

6. Don’t you mean WTFV? – Because it’s a link to YouTube. When I click a link from a social news site, I expect to find an article I can scan in five minutes or a picture I can look at and dismiss. Videos take time. A lot more time than I have. The kind of time I’d rather spend doing something else.

7. The page got me stoned. – “Bad acid trip” is not a web page design template. I’ll shorten the description here: does it look like it could be a MySpace page? Kill it.

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2 Responses to “Top 7 Reasons Why I Didn’t RTFA”

  1. Mukund Says:

    😀 Sorry for commenting upon a 2007 post in the July of 2008!!
    But I do agree with what you say!! The capacity of a human being to fetch everything useless and yet ignore the most obvious useful never ceases to amaze me!! And when I got myself a computer and some time later a full-time internet connection, I was thinking :’Ah, enlightenment!!’ Was i wrong? You know the answer!! 😀

  2. Mukund Says:

    Yeah I know that person could be me too!! But guess what, they’re lovin’ it!! 😉

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