Monday, May 27, 2013

What is spam ?

The traditional definition of spam is not correct.
You might think that spam is whatever ends up in your mailbox that you are not interested in, like ads.

My definition is broader than that.
But to understand it, I must define what is "information".

According to the information theory, information is what is giving clues to a decision you must take.

If I take a stone, take it in one hand, and ask you to guess which hand has the stone, you have no clues.
If god spoils you that the stone is in my left hand, god, a100% trustful being, you just got 1 bit of information.
This information help you to take a decision with more certainty that you would without it.

What is spam ?
Spam is the dark side of information. Spam is everything that don't improve your certainty over a decision you must take, or worse, increase your doubts over this decision, provoking in some case what developers call analysis paralysis.

Analysis paralysis is what happen when a developer can't write a single line of code, because he has more spam in its head.

A fact can be either a spam or an information. This does not depends on the source and nature of the fact, it depends on the observer.

Does this fact, help the observer takes a decision ?
Yes ? then it is information, read it.
No ? then it is spam, trash it.
It might ? Do not read, reference it, until you know if it is information or spam. (Evernote, I love you)

Now you can reflect on how much spam is around you, not only in your mailbox.
How can you create a life that filter spam without any effort ?

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