Goodbye Mr. Ebert


The Chicago Sun Times announced earlier today that Roger Ebert passed away today. Mr. Ebert was a legendary film critic, who hosted multiple shows over the last few decades.
His influence wasn’t just in the film arena, though. Mr. Ebert was an active participant online. In fact it was Roger Ebert, in 1996 at the Conference of World Affairs in Boulder Colorado, that coined “The Boulder Pledge.”

Under no circumstances will I ever purchase anything offered to me as the result of an unsolicited e-mail message. Nor will I forward chain letters, petitions, mass mailings, or virus warnings to large numbers of others. This is my contribution to the survival of the online community. Boulder Pledge

This was back in ’96, when spam was a few dozen emails a day. There was no such thing as a spam folder – it all went in your inbox. There was no such thing as a this is spam button, you just had to unsubscribe and hope for the best (and the best was you wouldn’t be added to other lists). There was no such thing as blocking a sender, you just had to hit delete.
Thank you, Roger Ebert. Your presence, your work, and your thoughtfulness have made the world a better place. You will be missed.

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  • At the dawn of email, old-school direct mailers were excited at the prospect of direct mail without giving money to the post office, and receivers were galvanized largely by just two transformative ideas to the conclusion that “you don’t get the right to appropriate my infrastructure to deliver your advertising”. Those two ideas were the Supreme Court decision in Rowan v. Post Office, and Roger Ebert’s ‘Boulder Pledge’.
    Apart from being a brilliant writer, he could be considered one of the fathers of the modern anti-spam movement. And I’m very happy that the Chicago Sun-Times obituary touched on that.
    …see you at the movies.

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