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MSI tells customers to RTFM

MSI tells customers to RTFM

MSI advised its customers that they would be banned from support if they didn't RTFM - but later claimed it was a gag.

Hardware manufacturer MSI has reportedly upset some of its customers following a strongly worded e-mail telling people to "RTFM."

As reported over on the bit-tech forums, the e-mail is believed to have gone out to all customers registered on the company's support forum - over 97,000 recipients.

The e-mail advised customers that "the MSI-forum and MSI-support team are fed-up with explaining you [sic] what can be found in the manual. I mean, come on, how hard is it to read a manual? They are printed on paper so you see them."

The e-mail then went on to claim that the company has been building "RTFM chips" into their products for quite some time, which ostensibly detect whether the user has read the product's manual and - if not - refuse to allow them support until they have.

The e-mail claimed that "MSI [has] decided to ban people from support, RMA, and the forum who has [sic] done the damage themselves or didn't read the manual the first of next month. We know who you are, and we have gathered enough information via our RTFM-chip."

For those uninitiated into the world of the ETLA, RTFM is generally considered to stand for 'Read The Fine Manual' - or alternative expansions for the letter F when you're not feeling quite so kind. Needless to say, there is no RTFM chip in MSI's hardware.

MSI, for its part, has responded to the growing numbers of rather upset customers by claiming that the e-mail was an April Fools' prank - apologising that "people took this for prank for serious [sic]," and claiming the company had "thought of this prank after answering the many posts where people ask the obvious that is already in the manual."

Sadly for MSI's credibility, the e-mail went out on the 25th of March - rather early for an April Fools' gag.

Did any of you receive a surprising e-mail from MSI last week? Do you believe that it was an April Fools' prank officially sanctioned by the company and merely delayed by a steam-powered e-mail engine or red tape, or is it more likely to have been a by-now ex-employees' bitter resignation? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

35 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
oMonarca 29th March 2010, 11:21 Quote
"Sadly for MSI's credibility, the e-mail went out on the 25th of March - rather late for an April Fools' gag."

Shouldn't it be soon?
proxess 29th March 2010, 11:23 Quote
Ooops. Badly scheduled.
Hex 29th March 2010, 11:24 Quote
E-mail sent on the 25th, thread about it posted in GD seconds later:

http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=185346

[edit]Hang on a minute... didn't the article originally link to The Register's report and now it links to the above forum post making it look like I'm just repeating the article :?[/edit]
logan'srun 29th March 2010, 11:24 Quote
uh, yeah, like did Bit-Tech invent the time-continuum and are visiting the past from the future?
l3v1ck 29th March 2010, 11:31 Quote
Why do I get the feeling this was a pissed off employee that sent the email without authorisation.
Gareth Halfacree 29th March 2010, 11:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by oMonarca
"Sadly for MSI's credibility, the e-mail went out on the 25th of March - rather late for an April Fools' gag."

Shouldn't it be soon?
Wait... What month is it? :S

Fixed.
Digi 29th March 2010, 11:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
Why do I get the feeling this was a pissed off employee that sent the email without authorisation.

I thought exactly the same thing. An M$ employee did it some years back by adding a page to microsoft.com called 'How to RTFM' and going on to tell you in lot's of detail just how you could read your manual. Turned out he had just been fired and M$ removed it within 2 hours but still.

Most companies nowadays have a policy that says you cannot go back to your desk and must leave the building within 15 minutes, at least in the banking sector.
SlowMotionSuicide 29th March 2010, 12:02 Quote
Anyone who has ever taken a look at MSI's forum knows the post was, at least in most cases, complete justified.

Nevertheless, bad publicity.
crazyceo 29th March 2010, 12:23 Quote
I actually think this is funny and shouldn't be taken in any other way other than a pinch of salt.

Niceone MSI for having a sense of humour.
SinxarKnights 29th March 2010, 12:31 Quote
Could have been an angry support person who knows, I find it funny. I wish I could tell people the same thing, but hey, its fun to get paid to read the manual to people who are too lazy to read it themselves :).
WILD9 29th March 2010, 12:53 Quote
This is terrible for MSI if they did do this on purpose then it shows a massive contempt for their customers issues. They may field a lot of daft support calls but so does everyone else. If it was an angry email from a member of staff then MSI trying to cover it up shows a massive misjudgement of the damage this could do to their reputation. Either way it seems like a decision made by second rate ebay trader not a large multinational company, Imagine if Sony did this!
proxymoron 29th March 2010, 12:55 Quote
I am far more likely to buy an MSI product as a result of this, as it goes. People *should* RTFM.
ch424 29th March 2010, 13:03 Quote
Quote:
Hardware manufacturer MSI has reportedly upset some of its customers following a strongly worded e-mail telling people to "RTFM."

As reported by who!? You broke the story! "Oh, we don't really have a news story here, so let's make something up!" It wasn't a strongly worded email, nor did it explicitly tell anyone to RTFM. This is pathetic, childish journalism.

:(
Gareth Halfacree 29th March 2010, 13:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ch424
As reported by who!? You broke the story! "Oh, we don't really have a news story here, so let's make something up!" It wasn't a strongly worded email, nor did it explicitly tell anyone to RTFM. This is pathetic, childish journalism.
Whoah. Way to spit the dummy.

As reported, as it so happens, by The Register - to which article there was originally a link, removed in editing - which was in turn reporting on posts in the MSI Forum.
PureSilver 29th March 2010, 13:13 Quote
Quote:
MSI, for its part, has responded to the growing numbers of rather upset customers by claiming that the e-mail was an April Fools' prank - apologising that "people took this for prank for serious [sic]," and claiming the company had "thought of this prank after answering the many posts where people ask the obvious that is already in the manual."

Users were unimpressed, complaining that "much like their press release, the manual they're telling me to consult reads like it was written by copying and pasting bits of Engrish.com." MSI were too busy outsourcing translation to Babelfish to offer further comment, despite the obvious truth that their company's products will not be taken "for serious" until they start to sound respectable in the language of their biggest markets...
[- pio -] 29th March 2010, 13:18 Quote
In the email it says (at least in the quote in talladega's thread) that people will be banned on "the first of next month" which is, of course, april 1st.. I would have thought that gave it away for most, but apparently no-one has noticed?

Anyway, sending a mail like this out to ALL of their almost 100,000 subscribers, and not expect someone to get pissed, might have been a little optimistic :P
mrbens 29th March 2010, 13:39 Quote
what a stupid thing to do
SBS 29th March 2010, 14:11 Quote
Looking around for a motherboard atm, MSI just won themselves a customer.
b5k 29th March 2010, 14:25 Quote
MSI do have a point though. People are more inclined to ring a help line or go to a forum and ask a question than to spend 5 minutes with a manual. My favourite example is a guy we'll call Helpless Middle Class Guy #1.

HMCG1 owns a BMW5 series and oh lord! He's run out of screenwash! From here *I* see 1 option, read the manual cause it's bound to tell you where to put the screenwash...No. He sees another. Ring BMW customer support and ask them to give him a step by step guide to filling up his washer fluid. Wasting 30 minutes of his time being diverted over call lines till having a technical support guy tell him to read the manual.

Long story short: READ THE ****ING MANUAL!

This was a publicity failure on MSI's part (100k people seeing that message = bad) but it's stupid to hire technical support staff to sit on a forum and hand out information easily available in the manual! I think it partly comes down to consumers not giving a damn how things work anymore and rather just wanting it to work.

On another note, I don't think this will damage MSI as a business. The reason you buy from MSI isn't because of their English or their attitude. It's their god damn hardware. MSI make hardware, not press releases. They have to pay other people to do that for them.

It's like judging your next Chancellor of the Exchequer based off how well he handles the public, what a retarded notion. I'd rather have some aspergers badger eyebrow man who can crunch numbers than some shiney **** polisher who has no idea, but boy can he give a press release!
WILD9 29th March 2010, 14:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by b5k

The reason you buy from MSI isn't because of their English or their attitude. It's their god damn hardware.

Seems not everyone thinks the same way....
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxymoron
I am far more likely to buy an MSI product as a result of this, as it goes. People *should* RTFM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SBS
Looking around for a motherboard atm, MSI just won themselves a customer.
maximus09 29th March 2010, 15:42 Quote
Nice one MSI, it shows us that the company has a human side, even if it was an angry ex-employee! I think it makes MSI image better :D

Will buy MSi next time :p
GW42 29th March 2010, 16:05 Quote
I did get both emails, and where in the article you are referring to MSI, you seem to be quoting the second email but saying "the company". The email though gives the sender as "MSI HQ User to User Forum". I had always understood that the MSI forum was a user to user support forum and that even the Mods were users, not employees.

Actually, 2 second google to check, and searching for "MSI forum" the first result was "MSI HQ User to User Forum - Index". The stickied threads (again 2 seconds to find...) includes one called "How to contact MSI for help" and explains "As this forum is simply run by users for the benefit of all MSI users, and MSI support staff don't have access here, there may be occasions where you are unable to obtain help here." Another sticky confirms "No one in these forums is formally employed by MSI".

So I wonder whether BT has actually MSI for a comment as to whether the company sanctioned the joke (and to me at least, it really was obvious it was a joke). Or was it, as it seems to me, entirely customer/user generated silliness. The article to me seems a wee bit misleading, assuming I'm not 100% wrong....

Edit: as to whether MSI need to keep a tighter leash on their user to user support forum, well, I guess the answer is yes. Having just re-read the 1st email, the body of the email does give the impression of being a company action, though I still think the company knew Jack about the email before it was sent.
Anfield 29th March 2010, 18:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SinxarKnights
Could have been an angry support person who knows, I find it funny. I wish I could tell people the same thing, but hey, its fun to get paid to read the manual to people who are too lazy to read it themselves :).

+234234

Where it gets even funnier is when they simply throw that paper stuff away, especially good for a laugh if IT departments of larger companies do it.
TSR2 29th March 2010, 19:27 Quote
I think the RTFM manual chip is actually a pretty good idea...
brave758 29th March 2010, 19:45 Quote
LOL still making me chuckle
ZERO <ibis> 29th March 2010, 19:51 Quote
If I got that e-mail I would have a good lol
Farfalho 29th March 2010, 20:08 Quote
I can't help but laugh at this situation, simply because MSI is right! Nowadays, people just don't bother to read the manual and even if they don't understand half of what it's written in there, at least they have read it and can ask a proper question refering to a specific option in the bios or something about the board - although the board part is quite a duh question since it hasn't any tricky part.

Come on, they might be early on the gag but they were spot on with it. Wished sometimes we could say something like that to people.
Jasio 29th March 2010, 20:10 Quote
Every product should come with a giant glowing sign that says "Read the F*cking Manual" - I worked in retail, and remember people returning products (simple ones too, like a cordless phone) and when you ask them what is wrong with it, they said "I don't know - it just doesn't work". You then ask them "Did you read the manual, or set-up instructions?" and they're response 99% of the time is "Why should I? It should just work".

Maybe a system of publicly shaming lazy/stupid customers would work better.
metarinka 29th March 2010, 21:00 Quote
probably a gag meant to go between mods, or support people and some poor unwitting sap who asked a very stupid question. funny in context, but then it got out and all hell broke loose.

Really though is it that big of a deal? RTFM
B3CK 30th March 2010, 02:57 Quote
+1 for MSI, I love pranking on April 1st; and have already acquired the stuff I need for what I will be doing to my fellow co-workers and wife.
HourBeforeDawn 30th March 2010, 07:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by oMonarca
"Sadly for MSI's credibility, the e-mail went out on the 25th of March - rather late for an April Fools' gag."

Shouldn't it be soon?

you mean early not late lol,

anyhow I dont blame the forum people for being sick of stuff answered in the manual and it was kinda funny
SteveU 30th March 2010, 17:28 Quote
People seem to have missed the crucial point here, this being the people who failed to RTFM are hardly likely to RTF(Email) either!!

;D
FR34K 30th March 2010, 21:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxymoron
I am far more likely to buy an MSI product as a result of this, as it goes. People *should* RTFM.
^ ;)
InSanCen 31st March 2010, 01:49 Quote
I thought it was funny. But, seeing as I had a huge RTFM sign hanging over my head when I worked as a Tech, (and frequently pointed to that one, and the "Google is your friend" partner to it when asked mind-bogglingly idiotic questions that were answerred either in the manual, on the Manufacturers website, or with the very first hit in google), it's not surprising really is it?
nitrous9200 31st March 2010, 05:14 Quote
I got the email too, laughed a bit but wasn't too sure what to think.

But yes, I would be able to take their claims a bit more seriously if their Engrish wasn't so terrible. I remember a few years ago, a friend and I would look up MSI press releases and mock their abominable spelling and grammar (whilst laughing our heads off).
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