This is not going to be a rant about how "kids today are lazy" and "everyone wants to be spoon fed" I've done that and enjoyed it, as have others on the mailing list. No, instead I want to explore why there is less manual reading these days...
So, this comes up because we got a request from someone via e-mail to see if they could "buy" any tutorials or training material on ANSYS. We sell an APDL guide but don't sell other stuff because we either give it away in the "The Focus" or feel that everything you need to know is in the manual. In fact, to be honest, most of what we publish in The Focus is just a condensed summary of what we find in the manuals. Not much else to it.
After spending way to much time on this I don't think it is laziness or anything like that. I blame two things: Microsoft and "An Idiot's Guide..." Microsoft (and other consumer software people) have lowered the standard on documentation to such a pitiful level, that people no longer assume that the answer is in the documentation. They go straight to forums to ask questions or search because reading the manual has never paid off in the past.
And the "Idiot's guide" don't get me started!!!!! Almost as bad as the children's story "Rainbow Fish." If you create a serious of books under the assumption that the reader is stupid, you have lowered the bar even further. Technical writers now feel that they need to write down to the users, and not expect the users to be smart and capable.
The problem is, there is not much we can do about it. Write a good manual, and no one reads it. But I feel better complaining about it.
If you are a new user and you are looking for those tutorials and hints, read the ANSYS manuals. They are very detailed, written well and consistent. So RTFM.