I ran across a(nother) web site the other day that had titles, content, and an animated GIF with a little bulldozer that said “Pardon our mess. This site is under construction.” I’ve never understood why web developers (or probably more accurately, people with a web site) feel the need to put such rubbish out in public. The web, almost by its very structure, is under construction. The Web 2.0 world, with well-defined protocols and methods in use, has a constant ebb and flow of content, but even the old web (1.4.3.b.2?) was expected to change. Putting out such a sign is stating what should be expected, and the only purpose I can think it serves is that the message from the web person is, “I don’t like this site, either. But I just wanted you to know I don’t like it, and one day, I may even have enough time or nerve to actually change it.” If they didn’t intend for people to see the site, they wouldn’t publish it, and if they actually want people to visit it (that’s the point, isn’t it?), then they should either put things they want to see on the site or wait until it’s ready. It comes across as a (lame) excuse that doesn’t fool the audience.And unfortunately, this same principle applies to a host of speakers, who do essentially the same thing: “I’m really not prepared to speak to you today.” “I didn’t sleep well, have had a busy week, and don’t feel like being here.” “I’m not the one really qualified to do this.” “I don’t think this is going to work out very well.” “I meant to change that slide, but I didn’t get around to it.“Each is a hope for an accepted excuse. If this message doesn’t impress you or meet your needs, I didn’t expect it to, and if it does, it’s a miracle or I’m really good. No employee wants that from their boss; no audience wants it from their speaker. If you really cared, you’d change it.
Give the message, and let it stand alone, without comment or caveat.