Originally Posted by airliner
so to have a clean faceplate when installed.
As mentioned, the reason they are front-faced is that it allows you to service the connections ezly, but no, they don't have to be messy at all, they sell all kind of cable management accessories to hide the wires EVEN if they are front-faced. I like the PANDUIT accessories, basically once you have all wires layed out, you snap on a plastic cover over and it's neat & clean. To make change you simply snap off the cover and the wires are in front of you for ez servicing.
If u live in Silicon Valley, these things can be had for cheaps at various electronics surplus, look eBay.