Improvements on SP2013 Error Messaging

Ah Twitter – sometimes you inform, sometimes you waste our time, and sometimes you entertain for hours. I happened across a Tweet from Brett Lonsdale image(@brettlonsdale) this afternoon that made me think of something funny, so I had to quickly respond. A few minutes later, and Stacy Draper (@stacydraper) was onboard.

The issue? Brett was complaining about something many of you who are exploring the SharePoint 2013 Preview have all seen – the “new” hourglass. The screen that pops up to tell you that SharePoint is doing something in the background, and to just sit back and enjoy your free time.

His original post: image

So of course I had to reply.I mean, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t say something. So I replied with the suggestion that the error messaging in SharePoint should be configurable, possibly having it point to a Content Query app of some sort, allowing you to create, through an easy-to-use SharePoint menu, a robust list of acceptable, if not entertaining, error or status messages for your organization. Brett seemed to like that idea, suggesting “I guess you could change it to switch the ‘Working on it’ and ‘Something went wrong.’ That would be confusing but fun.

So then I started listing out other ideas. That’s when Stacy jumped in, coming up with some great status message ideas, as well. Here is our list of suggested status messages. Let us know what sticks, and we’ll make the suggestions to Microsoft:

  • WTF?
  • Hold the phone…
  • Your guess is as good as mine.
  • Hang on, the squirrel is loose.
  • Another cut corner surfaces…
  • Something went wrong and its all your fault.
  • Turnin’ this mutha out!
  • Yes boss!
  • If you don’t like how I’m doing it, create your own damn site! (or reference whatever else you clicked on)
  • Working on it, Sir.
  • Tsk! Really? Cause I was trying to do a crawl right now.
  • This would be a fine time for you to get some exercise. Not saying you need it, but you know.
  • You put your right foot in…
  • I don’t know what you’d do without me.

And then my personal favorite….

  • Yeah, I’m down. Deal with it be-otches

My other big idea, assuming that these witty messages might also soon annoy people, is to end it with that simple command from the classic pre-Windows prank, a script called “I Love DOS” where the only way to turn the stupid thing off was to type into the command prompt “I love you.”

Ok, that’s my idea, Microsoft. Deal with it.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.