Oops! keep them ignorant

03/05/2024 - Levi Neuwirth - for immediate publication

Unfortunately, in today's world, it is to the advantage of big tech and many other privacy-invading companies to keep the users ignorant and unaware of how their systems work. This attitude encourages a culture of non-education and, at times, blatant anti-intellectualism.
This is something that has been lingering on my mind lately; I am releasing a new series of videos on my YouTube channel (which I am doing only for reach; I encourage the use of Invidious, or at a minimum, an adblocker) to promote education and technological literacy in the areas of privacy, security, and freedom. These will be available for free in perpetuity in the hopes of making some personal contribution to the democratization of knowledge other than editing Wikipedia.
To the point of this writing, though - why do so many companies use the phrase "Oops! Something went wrong." for effectively any type of error? I believe that, perhaps what started as a good-intention move by one developer somewhere (good-intention at first... trying to not overwhelm users in a program that is largely used by a non-technical audience? That's my theory.) was adopted as the second most common phrase in tech today. (After "and more," because an application always needs to do absolutely everything; nothing can be left out! /s)
Using this in places where many of the users have a technical background is ignorant. A free program would tell the user what errors have occurred and give some type of backtrace, similar to what you might get if you screwed up some C++ code. (It's easy to do!) Instead, companies deliberately want to keep everything in a fairytale environment of convenience and don't want to scare anyone off. Even look at Google's error screens. They subtly include the HTTP error code (like 404, for instance), but clearly are designed with a non-technical audience in mind.
That's not to imply that you should use Google as a model for anything - you should pick a much more competent company for that.
Now, even privacy oriented companies, which might be releasing open-source, but are not releasing free software, are adopting the models of big-tech. (I'll write more about other ways this adoption is occurring and why I'll be permanently moving away from Proton in the coming days.) There's no reason for this! Companies that originated as a response to big tech are now adopting its stupid mannerisms and prioritizing of convenience over freedom.
My message to anyone who is working on software: if something goes wrong, TELL THE USER what happened and give a backtrace. Do not borrow stupid corporate jargon from the companies writing software that we are trying to replace!

Do you know what the first company / software to use this phrase was? If so, please let me know at ln@levineuwirth.org and include your PGP key. I'm very curious!
this text may be freely distributed - 03/05/2024 for immediate publication