Bad, bad user!

You would think that in our time of all-connectedness, Web 2.0 services, mobile integration, online editing and so on and so forth, the internet would have gotten more sensible about its error messages. Such simple things, really, from the usability point of view. But no. Here is my latest experience:

The title already sets the mood: YOU, the user, have done something very wrong.
The first sentence still sounds human. Tech talk for sure, but clear enough, unless your are a surfing grandma with no idea who this server might be and what this person was trying to serve you. Look what you’ve done, says the first sentence, but still with a contained emotion. ‘Additionally’, says the second sentence (or: to make your offense even worse), somebody – who? – has encountered an Error 404, which was at the same time Not Found – a Not-Found but still encountered Error? pure metaphysics – while trying to do what exactly? ‘Use’ (sounds chilling) an ErrorDocument (note the mystic joining of names) to ‘handle’ the request – or whatever it was you asked that poor server to serve you.
And I am not even speaking of visual design, in our Flex-and-Flash times. I guess we will have to wait for Web 3.0 to have comprehensive Error Messages, and not quotes from Lord of the Rings.

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