Trade is a wonderful tool. It allows the more socially oriented business (wo)man to create a nice income, allows for quick sales of obscure items and every now and then you manage to get a real deal off of someone whose just too lazy to AH their goods.
Unfortunately only about 20% of all chat traffic on the [2. Trade] channel resembles actual 'trading' or selling / buying of items or services.
The rest is, by lack of a better word, utter abysmal crap. Endless arrays of barrens escapees filling the channel with anything from high quality conversations about their school life right down to ye ole [dirge] spam which is still alive and kicking on my server for some obscure reason.
I'd almost be inclined to join the first guild that actually uses the recruitment channel for guild recruitment but considering they're just trying to buy some guildies (euhm recruit some members) I can give that a pass as useful trade information.
But mild ranting aside it seems to me that there is actually a very simple way to ensure, at least for the most part, that trade is indeed about well... trade.
What I suggest is simply that trade is put in a pre-fixed format. Next time you hit 'trade' to advertise one of your wares in you should receive a nice simple little popup.
In this little popup we find a number of dropdown lists (comboboxes or whatever you may wish to call them) and a few 'link' fields.
Basically you would be able to select one of 3 activties: WTT, WTB, WTS
and a few items perhaps up to 5 in the format of [quantity] [item link]
From the quantity dropdown you could select any number (i.e. from 1-100 or make a field that only accepts integers as input) and the item link box would allow you to insert an item link and an item link only.
By preventing the actual 'tradee' which is us for all intents and purposes to just type in whatever we come up with we would then be forced to simply select if we want to trade, buy or sell and also be forced to simply put in an item link and how many we want to sell (1 by default).
If the item link field doesn't accept anything but item links (or skill links etc.) and the quantity isn't modifiable beyond whats there to be selected there's really no choice but to use trade what it was made for in the first place.
Sure you could embelish it with an item search function or allow for more than 5 items to be offered up at the same time, maybe a color selector or whatnot to make your text stand out but that's the basic concept.
And with that you would end up wiping out all the mindless chatter, at least some of the guild recruitment spam (not dirge spam I suppose) and most gold sellers would be looking for a new way to sell us their illegal goods.
A big win in my book, since I rather like the chatting once in a while, but also the actual trading. I just think they would be better off in separate channels so I can choose to opt out of one or the other.