How about a polite way to invite to take a deeper look at the .log file?

This is meant for a contribution to be added to Text building blocks.

It is agreed that to RTFL someone in the answer is inappropriate. In the comments, it's debatable.

But some questions could easily be avoided at all just by looking at the log file. And to close a question just because we can spot the problem in the log can be even more frustrating for the OP.

That's why I'm suggesting a polite way to do it.

Related: About RTFM etiquette

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    why not just write an answer that shows how to read the log? text building blocks are on the whole a bad thing so adding more doesn't improve things. Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 0:14
  • Indeed it is the approach I followed (tex.stackexchange.com/a/539113/177). Then I asked this question, driven by the same doubt you pointed out: better to answer or to put a RTFL comment, which may only be more upsetting? Thanks for sharing your view Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 8:09
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    Yes I think that was a good answer. Making a "text building block" to say "look at the log file" would only discourage people writing custom answers like that that shows the exact line of the specific log file for the question, as people just copy the text and post an answer without thinking. Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 8:22

1 Answer 1


Everything I wrote in my answer to the linked question About RTFM etiquette applies even more strongly to RTFL. The log file requires some experience and training to read properly. If you want to instruct people on it, then recreate the error, show the relevant portion of the log file in your answer and then explain how to use that log file information to diagnose the problem.

I'm not a fan of the Text Building Blocks approach to commenting generally. It tends to lead to reflexive rather than reflective commenting, and I don't use them myself. So adding a text building block about the log seems like a really bad idea, given the difficulties people are likely to have reading it (or in many cases, even finding it.)

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