“RTGDFA” means “Read The G*d D**n F***ing Article.”
Suddenly, out of the blue, there it was on February 17, 2022: A WOLF STREET commenter coined the acronym “RTGDFA” without further explanation, and we then appropriated it as a standardized reply to comments where it’s clear the commenter had only read the headline, or maybe just part of the headline, and then commented on what they imagined the article said, with hilarious and often frustrating results.
Commenting without having read the article is super-common. It’s fine when the comment is not about the article, but about a related topic or anecdote or whatever. But when commenters argue with what they believe the article said, based on the headline, or even their misreading of the headline, they have occasionally gotten slapped with an RTGDFA ever since February 17, 2022.
It’s a cocktail of humor, exasperation, and frustration.
The #1 and #2 Commenting Guidelines of WOLF STREET discuss the issue of commenting without having read the article:
1. Do not comment on what you imagine the article says based on the headline or the first paragraph. If you haven’t read the entire article, do not comment on the article itself because you don’t know what it says, and your imagination is likely wrong. A comment will either go into the shredder or get slapped with “RTGDFA” if it’s clear to me that a commenter is discussing, or especially arguing with, what they think the article said, when the article didn’t say it.
2. If you didn’t read the article and want to comment, great, no problem, many commenters do, but make sure it’s not about what you think the article said. Your comment could be an anecdote, experiences, or observations related more or less to the topic, and that’s always welcome.
The WOLF STREET comments are a great place to hang out, have fun, be funny, and have lively reasonably well-behaved conversations about anything but partisan politics (Commenting Guideline #3), from arcane economic topics to marital advice.
But comments that argue with something the article didn’t even come close to saying because the commenter has no idea what’s in the article, that can be very disruptive. It can highjack the thread because many people who read the comments never actually read the article. They come for just the comments because they’re a wild and fun ride, and that’s great, that’s what comments are for. And they don’t know either what’s in the article, and they take that misfired comment seriously and reply to it. It can trigger a whole avalanche of replies, one crazier than the other, because the craziness of the original comment triggered it.
Other versions have now grown out of it, such as the complete sentence, “I RTGDFA,” and people have coined and then used RTGDFC (Comment instead of Article), and LTTGDFP (listen to the podcast), etc. I’ve been slapped with RTGDFC. Can happen to anyone around here. Don’t take it personally.