At the dawn of the internet, posting a commercial message was the indicator used by everyone to point and say, “that is spam.”

This was a huge mistake. Because it led to a deep rabbit-hole of requiring us to answer the question: Is this message commercial?

I think it’s commercial? …do you? Wait what is “commercial” is it any time we exchange any amount of value? That’d be two people talking! “Commercial” isn’t inherently bad… Ok, but we need to agree so we can make a decision! Is “we” a few of us in this space, or does the poster’s opinion matter? Does their “street credit” in the space affect how much we value their opinion? Maybe we can rate-limit how many border-line-commercial messages each person can… Oh, wait, I know! Let’s appoint someone to be the arbiter of this space and… deep. deep. rabbit. hole.

And we went to great length to try to place (move, cajoul, beg, etc) the commercial stuff into designated areas.

It’s not commercial that is the problem. SURPRISE is the problem. If something is unexpected, it better be perceived as desired. It’s not the content of the message (post, email, phone, whatever) that matters, it’s the recipient’s REACTION that matters.

That phone call at dinner from the caller ID you do not recognize—unexpected and undesired—spam!

The garage that fixed my car that later robo-calls me to beg me to 5-star rate them—unexpected and undesired—spam!

The web site pop-up dialog talking about…—spam!

So the first challenge is to get control of the channels. I’ve moved away from anything where random people can easily interrupt me. (Where “moved away” means everything from literally eliminate said thing, to change or reconfigure how it works, etc. My “inner circle” of people can easily surprise me, of course!) This drastically reduces surprises, and so drastically reduces spam.

Then the second challenge is to locate the channels that contain the information—including commercial information—which I want to receive. My favorite clothing retailer has learned that I like to be surprised with email from them. Commercial? …absolutely. Spam? …yes, please.