I don't know what is special about this question: Use sleep with minutes and seconds

This question is about the use of a basic shell function, can anyone explain to me what is difficult about a command like that (for which we only need read a little of the manual, like we say: RTFM!)?

This question has more views and more votes than some others that are more better and more instructive, so I didn't expect a success like that.

NB: I know this question won't be well received, but I really need explanation for this

  • More people understand the simple stuff and can make use of it, so it is more popular. If you are answering obscure questions that are hard to understand, less people will be interested. Never tell people RTFM, that is just sillyin the context of a site like this that is supposed to help people by answering their questions.
    – Mark Kirby
    Aug 14, 2018 at 9:29
  • @MarkKirby i got sometimes reply like "Get a book" or something of same type on SO for something less obvious, that's why I don't understand; if tomorrow I ask a question like "How to open a file with Libreoffice in command line", will it be downvoted because too obvious, or upvoted because people know the answer?
    – damadam
    Aug 14, 2018 at 9:33
  • The people who told you that are idiots, this is a problem with SO and is related to its size but it is not a accepted thing to do here, this site is much smaller and focused. People come here for small solutions just like that question and vote them up because they are useful to them, look here and see the most voted questions: askubuntu.com/questions?sort=votes
    – Mark Kirby
    Aug 14, 2018 at 9:40
  • " if tomorrow I ask a question like "How to open a file with Libreoffice in command line..." No your question would of got almost 30 up votes askubuntu.com/questions/659741/…
    – Mark Kirby
    Aug 14, 2018 at 9:43
  • Okay now I understand, I was feared to ask too obvious question because of my first on SO : stackoverflow.com/questions/50511009/… (but that guy which said me "Get a book" removed his comment, not the downvote)
    – damadam
    Aug 14, 2018 at 9:49
  • 1
    Due to some initial high upvotes, that question got into the Hot Network Questions that is shown on the right sidebar of all SE sites and thus it got more attention. Most users coming from HNQ can only upvote due to association rep. bonus, but cannot downvote, thus skewing the votes more.
    – Andrew T.
    Aug 14, 2018 at 13:48
  • What is the meaning of RTFM? Aug 15, 2018 at 9:20
  • @CristianaNicolae en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM
    – pomsky
    Aug 15, 2018 at 11:31
  • @pomsky Thank you! Aug 16, 2018 at 13:01
  • @damadam "... reply like "Get a book" or something of same type on SO ..." -- Ask Ubuntu is generally considered to be friendlier than SO ;-)
    – pomsky
    Aug 17, 2018 at 7:53

1 Answer 1


Confounding factors* aside, questions (and answers) like this tend to have long term popularity because people are trying to find a solution to the same problem. What you might think too obvious, or solved by man whatever, other people turn to Google (et al) as the first port of call.

Our goal is to answer questions so just telling them to look it up elsewhere isn't welcome. If that happens to you, flag it. Seriously, RTFM answers (and comments) have no place here.

That's not to say we're against people improving themselves. A really good answer won't stop at answering the question, it'll tell you how to answer questions like that in the future.

* Questions like this might be initially popular because people like low-hanging fruit. Some of the more simple things also tend to be solvable in a variety of ways and people like a good round of Code Golf and it's also a great way to learn advanced things you thought you already knew.

The people with a Gold in are fine specimens of low fruit eaters :)

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