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 read their manuals and that anyone who hadn't read them would be banned from support.
For the uninitiated, RTFM is a widely recognized acronym for "Read The Fucking Manual".
"The MSI-forum and MSI-support team are fed-up with explaining you what can be found in the manual," read an email message from the support team, which apparently went to every person registered for the company's support forums, including customers, vendors, and press. "I mean, come on, how hard is it to read a manual? They are printed on paper so you see them."
The so-called RTFM chip, the email went on to say, had been monitoring the behavior of users for "some time".
"So MSI decided to ban people from support, RMA, and the forum who has done the damage themselves or didn't read the manual the first of next month," it said. "We know who you are, and we have gathered enough information via our RTFM-chip."
The email went out on March 25, and the company's support team now says it was an April Fools' joke. "We are sorry people took this for prank for serious [sic]," reads a forum post and email message from the company's support team head. "We thought of this prank after answering the many posts where people ask the obvious that is already in the manual.
"But we learned a valuable lesson, no more April-fools jokes from the forum...Sorry that you took it for real and got mad."
What's more, some people didn't take it for real and got mad. "The 'joke' might have been funny if you'd maybe not been quite so abrasive about it," says one poster. "And as pointed out by others, you're WELL off the mark for an April Fools joke. There's a pretty limited window for April Fools gags and you lot now just look like idiots."
For the uninitiated, April Fools' jokes typically occur on April 1 - not March 25.
You can argue whether the email was a joke or a rogue message from some embittered support rep who finally went over the edge or somewhere in between. But one thing's for certain: Idiot is not too strong a word. ®
Thanks to Reg readers Simon and Andrew.