Rather Than Punishing Moviegoing Texters, Why Not Provide Incentives For Them To Put Down Their Phones?

from the positive-reinforcement,-rather-than-negative-reinforcement dept

One of the areas of economics I’m most interested in is focused on incentives. While it’s a simplification of things, there are so many areas where people seem to naturally gravitate towards negative reinforcement as an incentive system — that is, punishing people for things they believe are wrong. While that does work in some cases, it’s amazing just how frequently positive reinforcement to nudge behavior in a better direction works much, much, much more effectively. Aaron DeOliveira points us to an interesting example of a company focusing on positive reinforcement in an area where most people have long-assumed that punishment was the only possible option: dealing with the annoyance of people texting during a movie. The first response that many theaters (and theater goers!) have, is to “punish” this behavior by outlawing it. They set up rules and put up signs. They have silly commercials before the show about how annoying it is. But it’s all based on the idea of negative reinforcement: punishing or shaming those who engage in the behavior. But, quite frequently, that does little to actually get people to stop.

So, it appears that the Cinemark chain of theaters is trying a system of positive reinforcement. Within its normal movie app for iOS and Android is a separate “mini-app” allowing users to put their phones into “CineMode.” It automatically makes the screens on the phones dim, and puts them into vibrate mode — sort of like an equivalent to airplane mode. But here’s the kicker: since the app knows what you’re doing, it can keep track of whether or not you actually follow through and leave CineMode enabled throughout the entire flick. For the users who do that, they get rewarded:

When the movie ends and the guest exits CineMode, Cinemark will automatically send a reward (digital coupon) through the app and store it in the Rewards section.

Who knows how well it will work in practice, but it’s great to see people realizing that technology can help enable this kind of positive reinforcement, rather than always doubling down on the negative reinforcement/punishment.

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Comments on “Rather Than Punishing Moviegoing Texters, Why Not Provide Incentives For Them To Put Down Their Phones?”

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126 Comments
Androgynous Cowherd says:

Punishment has steeply diminishing returns, anyway

One thing that could stand to be emphasized more (and in all policy arenas): Punishment, in general, has steeply diminishing returns in deterrence value as it’s made more severe or frequent.

The instance where some medieval country’s copyright-like law in textile patterns had penalties that got steeper and steeper, up to and including torture, without making a dent in “piracy”, comes to mind in particular. So does the present “war on drugs”.

dox says:

I don't agree

You shouldn’t have to give people incentives to not act like jerks. People pay to see movies. You are out in public. If you want to talk during a movie and text or play with your phone then wait for the dvd. I despise going to the movies these days and will only go for the absolute biggest movies. I’m tired of obnoxious people on phones and taking or kicking seats cause they can’t sit still. You should not have to reward people in order to get them to behave properly. Once they are past 10 years old they should know better

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: I don't agree

So what if you shouldn’t have to? You can continue your crusade against movie texters (which I’m not, so let’s just head that discussion off) in a negative enforcement manner, but if positive enforcement works better then you’d be a fool to not use it.

Saying you shouldn’t have to so you’re not going to is the same mentality that copyright maximalists have. They say that people shouldn’t be copying their works (texting in movies), they shouldn’t have to change their business model (offer this app or discounts), etc. but in their case the negative enforcement is costing them a lot of time, money, effort, goodwill, etc (extra employees monitoring the theaters, signs, those commercials at the beginning of every movie cost money and annoy me, even though I agree with what they are trying to do) and yet still not doing anything to stop the copying (people are still texting during movies).

Sure you could up the ante and bring down heavier enforcement, but this app gives out benefits to people who text and to people who don’t text. You make happy both people who are rude and people who agree with the cause. Sure it might cost something (the app and the discounts) but now you are building goodwill, return customers, and possibly getting the behavior you want (that’s still to be seen). So who cares whether you should have to or not? If doing so leaves you and your customers better off, you’d be a fool not to do it.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: I don't agree

We already know what’s effective. The real problem is that some companies are unwilling to act. They have a strange sort of paralysis where it’s obvious that you want to keep the as many customers happy as possible.

Tossing out the riffraff will do that. It’s easy. It’s simple. It’s been demonstrated to work.

Perhaps it just requires too much effort.

Cinemas currently have other problems beyond the fact that people with cell phones are stupid gits.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Ah but the best reward for those who do not partake in annoying others during Cinema movies is the knowledge that they wont get conked on the head by a Jaffa Or is that a purely Aussie/Kiwi thing?

Though the people who’s phones do ring during a movie I watch are probably annoyed at the time it takes them to extricate said phone from their rectums

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I read your first paragraph.. and was wondering who in the world polices a theater while dressed as a character from Stargate SG-1? πŸ™‚

I thought the same, though it would really be interesting to see Teal’c (Christopher Judge) walking down the isle at someone texting and looking disappointingly in their direction until they stop. A one two punch would be to have Chuck Norris standing behind them so that if Teal’c didn’t get them to stop, Norris could remove their spinal cord for them.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You can punish them all you like, you’re not going to get them to stop. And do you think they’re going to stand for being kicked out of the movie quietly? No, if you escalate the issue, so will they. It will just be a contest of who can be the bigger dick and guess who loses in the end? The people watching the movie will.

Or you can just find them a compelling reason that they find appealing to leave it silent and dim without resorting to being an uptight asshole.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well, I find that wasting $10 to $20 a ticket and getting kicked out is certainly a very good motivation for not texting. If you must text, just leave the room that the show is playing in, and then come back when it’s done. Of course, the most positive results come from politely asking someone to stop and please turn the phone off. If they have the “Fuck you” attitude, be passive aggressive (cites Mrs. Wally) about it.

PaulT (profile) says:

I don't agree

You shouldn’t *have* to, but sadly reality is what it is. Some cinemas – especially independents – either attract more considerate crowds or have strict policies in place to stop this kind of behaviour as it happens (I believe the Alamo Drafthouse does this, for example). If such a cinema exists near you, then please support it!

Otherwise, this is just a softer approach to try and get those people to act like intelligent adults. It’s sad that some people are like that, but neither you nor the cinema can change their attitude – and more confrontational approaches can lead to abuse or even violence against the minimum wage slave working there. If this is what it takes, do you honestly care that it’s this that happens rather than you waiting around for the teenager who’s meant to be servicing every screen to notice or care about the disruptive moron behind you?

I agree that this isn’t what it should take, but sadly this might be what’s needed.

Davey says:

Re: I don't agree

I don’t give a damn about the “attitudes” of morons. Block cell phones. It’s really that simple. Or at least make theaters put up prominent disclosure signs: “We welcome texting, talking, and game playing during the movie” or “We enforce strict rules against texting, phoning, music playing, and game playing during the movie”.

Really not that hard.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re:

I’m tempted to agree with the execution idea heh.

But in all seriousness I agree both with the article and with you. Bad behavior should NOT be rewarded (seriously, I’d text just to get the coupons) however harsh punishment may not be the ideal solution either.

I’d say there are more subtle and effective ways to deal with this kind of idiocy. It reminds me of a show where a girl behind me started screaming when the band came in (Evanescence now that I’m thinking about it) and kept screaming like crazy in a manner I’m sure she wasn’t listening to anything and wasn’t letting anybody else around her listen to the show. On the second song I lost my patience turned around and grabbed her by her shoulders and said “Look, I know you love them but please shout between the songs, not ALL the time. We all want to listen to the songs.” after which I received a sound round of applause from the people nearby. Needless to say the problem was solved. And that’s not the only time it happened to me.

I’d say that public “shame” (although that’s not quite the word I’m looking for) is the best way to fix it. You can talk to the person that’s doing it wrong calmly and respectfully and it’ll work out.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’d say that public “shame” (although that’s not quite the word I’m looking for) is the best way to fix it. You can talk to the person that’s doing it wrong calmly and respectfully and it’ll work out.

Usually. Sometimes the police have to come and physically drag her out of the play at intermission. Now she was drunk so that’s different, but still… as for punishment, there’s no need for execution. Just cut their arms off.

JackSombra (profile) says:

Punishment has steeply diminishing returns, anyway

” But, quite frequently, that does little to actually get people to stop. “

Or alternatively just kick the people out as they do in most other country’s. And because of that “no tolerance” attitude other country’s have far fewer problems with mobile phone users in cinema’s

out_of_the_blue says:

Lack of punishment rewards BAD behavior.

You’re the kind of fool who thinks that shaking your finger at a bad little doggie is enough to make it understand abstractions. But dogs and most people don’t adopt civilized behavior if there’s no immediate practical drawback. That’s part of why here on Techdirt you have lots of ad hom but no counter-arguments. (You even reward the most vile troll, Timothy Geigner aka “Dark Helmet” by calling him Techdirt’s “comment enforcer”, so apparently that’s what you wish here.) — But beyond that, on those whom the “rewards” don’t work, and there are bound to be some, what then? No punishment at all?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Lack of punishment rewards BAD behavior.

“That’s part of why here on Techdirt you have lots of ad hom but no counter-arguments.”

If you replace Techdirt with “out_of_the_blue” you’d just as easily be talking about yourself and your comments in general. You realize that, right?

I doubt you do, I mean hey who doesn’t want to call everyone “ankle biters” on a regular basis and then wag their finger at all the pirates and feel high and mighty up their on their cross of martyrdom (while secretly being a pirate and turning to The Pirate Bay before considering donating to Kickstarter projects to get new content out their for themselves and others and actually supporting creators directly). Not OotB for sure. Oh hey, I just realized that other sentence was entirely about you and the things you say/do on here regularly. Go figure.

silverscarcat says:

Re: Actually...

Speaking from personal experience here…

All punishment does is drive up resentment and causes more problems down the line.

Let me ask you this, what gets more done when talking to people?

“Clean that up or you’re gunna be punished!”

Or?

“Clean that up and you’ll get cake.”

Hmm…

I dunno about you, but I’d rather clean up to get cake.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Actually...

Yes, but most people stop listening to their parents because some parents can’t bring themselves to punish their children. The problem is that there needs to be a viable threat to the warning that a crucial privilege will be taken away (ie, watching a movie you just paid $10 to $20 to see) if there is an escalated non-compliance to a warning or three…ever wonder why parents count to 3 with the threat of something bad will happen to you if you misbehave as a young child who doesn’t know any better? Same thing. You eventually grow out of it unless something really does happen multiple times to you or others on similar warnings.

Once again, it’s much easier to just avoid all this hassle at a cinema and turn off your cellphone so you don’t miss the movie and distract others from it.

Ninja (profile) says:

Lack of punishment rewards BAD behavior.

Yes, you are the prime example of why no punishment rewards bad behavior, right?

But I will disagree. Punishment is NOT the only and often not the best approach. And contrary to what you said about the doggies, shaking your finger and talking to the dog in an angry manner is enough for it to understand it did something wrong. Much like I did not like when my parents looked at me in disappointment when I was a kid. No punishment was needed.

You can TEACH the dogs to do the right thing in more subtle ways. For instance if you pull the leash up and take its front paws away from the ground while it’s running in front of you pulling you will give it a clear message. After some time doing it the dog will understand it must walk either beside or behind you.

Educating the movie texter is but one of the multiple solutions that must be adopted. And by educating I don’t mean just putting up “No texting” signs. Having an employee gently ask the texters to stop without threatening is a good start. After the texter is interrupted enough times they’ll be annoyed and stop. Other measures can be added to this by the cinemas or even by the other persons watching the movie.

Your idea that punishment is the only way to deal with something probably comes from your MAFIAA masters…

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Depends on the movie. The reason I think that those teenagers were there in my situation with Prometheus were there for kicks to make fun of a movie that didn’t take time to analyze and research what they were watching. My wife set them straight though. A lot of movies in the Alien universe are full of Freudian sexuality horror (note the shape of the chest burster that jumps out of John Hurt’s character, Kaine, is very penile) and once they realized that due to my wife’s hilarious passive aggressiveness.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Why is your phone so lame?

My phone is not that lame. It would actually take me extra effort to use a special app just for getting ready to watch a movie. When I was presented with this notion in an actual movie theater, I thought it was pretty retarded actually. Without the positive reinforcement aspect, the concept is just stupid and ultimately more bothersome.

Michael (profile) says:

Incentive

I am waiting for someone to come up with an interactive movie. If you want people to be engaged, stop texting, and make the theater experience something they cannot reproduce at home, make an app that is part of the movie.

A movie experience could be vastly different (and more interesting) if audience members had smartphone apps that the movie interacted with. How much more creepy could you make a horror film if your phone rang when the killer called their next victim? And I’m not even remotely creative.

I would love to see some experiments with movies that take advantage of the fact that audience members are walking in with an additional screen, speakers, and wireless communications.

dennis deems (profile) says:

Re: Incentive

How much more creepy could you make a horror film if your phone rang when the killer called their next victim?

Er, substantially LESS. When a film engages me, I am in the world of the film for a couple hours. I’m not thinking about — and don’t want to be reminded of — my goddamn phone.

And I’m not even remotely creative.

You might be interested in the films of William Castle

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Incentive

I am remotely creative and there’s a billion possibilities with this that nobody is really exploring.

The obvious is choose your own adventure type stories where the audience votes on where the story goes, or chooses multiple endings.

But what about a room with no big screen, but your phone only shows 1/4 of the image, and you have to find the three other people that match up to complete your image.

Or showing bad movies and letting people tweet comments that show up as subtitles.

Or wearing headphones and listening to a different language or director’s commentary while you watch the film.

Or a live concert where people live stream their camera phones to the big screen on stage.

lots of creative possibilities.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Negative reinforcement != punishment

Reinforcement, whether positive or negative is intended to increase (reinforce) a behavior. The difference is that negative reinforcement removes something and positive reinforcement gives something.

Punishment is meant to decrease a behavior, that’s why it’s different from negative reinforcement, although they’re frequently confused.

Here’s an example. You want your kids to do their homework. That’s a desirable behavior you want to reinforce. You could offer to give them money every time they complete it – positive reinforcement. Or you could let them not have to clean their rooms if they complete it – negative reinforcement.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Negative reinforcement != punishment

In that regard:

Positive Reinforcement:
If you turn off your device you might be able to enjoy the movie better. You’re allowed to text after the movie when the credits are rolling – positive reward.

Negative Reinforcement:
If you do not stop texting we will kick you out of the theater until you are done. After that you may continue watching the film in peace….but you miss the enjoyment of the film.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Negative reinforcement != punishment

Once again, “Reinforcement, whether positive or negative is intended to increase (reinforce) a behavior.” The behavior in question is using a cell phone. Note that “not using a cell phone” isn’t a behavior. So the behavior is not one you would want to reinforce, therefore there’s no reinforcement happening.

Anonymous Coward says:

First off, I love Alamo Draft House. Wish there was one close to me… But at the same time I understand that your typical movie theater with underpaid undermotivated workers that are just there to collect a pay check so they can exist a bit longer in this world are not going to be all that gung ho about making people to be less of assholes.

So for your mass market movie going audiences… yes this is awesome.

Wally (profile) says:

Best incentive for annoying moviegoers texting.

My wife and I ran into this problem watching “Prometheus”. These group of teenagers behind us were not talking, but texting each other…one of them had an iPhone and didn’t turn off the click sound on the device. I was getting miffed because I have a huge respect for the works of Ridley Scott and a huge fan of the first four Alien films (it’s up there with Trekky fandom).

So, this damn texting was very loud and rude. No excuse, just enjoy the (pardon my French) fucking film. I was about to yell and swear at them as the female face hugger, which honestly looks like a the fallopian uterine of a horse with human vaginal opening as the mouth with fangs for good measure, grabs a guy’s face.

Knowing full well and being versed in her own body, my wife chimes in loudly over the texting in Mystery Science Theater 3000 fashion:

“See Wally, that’s why you never piss off a woman,”

Dead silence from the group directly behind us as I struggle to stifle a laugh at the passive aggressiveness of my wife’s comment, for the rest of the movie….save a few jump scenes.

You don’t need an iPhone or device to enjoy the movie in a theater unless there is extra stuff gathered. It’s just plain rude to leave your phone on during the show and you should plan ahead in case of emergencies that would normally require it.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Best incentive for annoying moviegoers texting.

Ok, to get a feel for the evening concerning that movie and the Freudian Hell shown in it. Imagine being the typical modern teenage male in that situation…it’s likely that somewhere in that subconscious mindset, one would not even remotely understand the context or significance of the first two Alien films in the Sexual Freudian regard…you would start looking for sexual images in the background of Prometheus. It’s deep dark imagery in the background (and foreground, yes while the humanoid is being eaten by a squid that has a vagina mouth with sharp teeth).

It saved my viewing and made my evening a whole lot better when I saw their reactions.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Best incentive for annoying moviegoers texting.

Yup…. It carried on into Prometheus. Best way to say it…Sexual Freudian Hell. For what it was, Prometheus was a good movie. I liked it because I knew what it implied to the Alien series (minus AvP…I do not count those). I wanted to enjoy it for what it was and the idiots behind my wife and I almost blew it for me. My wife made it a very memorable night with her comment. She didn’t say what she said in a sarcastic tone either, but a rather dark and serious tone and in a state of hidden humor (they couldn’t see her lack of poker face as I could). She’s good at finagling like that.

It was funny to me because they (unlike my wife, you, or I) had no concept of Giger or his art (I gave my wife a 2 day crash course before opening night on Giger). I could see they’re sick faces after the film because the way that the woman of my life, who has a very attractive voice, said it.

JMT says:

Re: Best incentive for annoying moviegoers texting.

“It’s just plain rude to leave your phone on during the show and you should plan ahead in case of emergencies that would normally require it.

As a parent of two small kids, the only way I can go to the movies is by having someone look after them. I want that person to be able to contact me if they need to, so my phone will stay on and I will answer texts, silently of course. It doesn’t happen often, I’m discreet, and don’t consider my actions “just plain rude”. Your suggestion to “plan ahead” is amusingly impractical, I’m guessing you don’t have young kids.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Best incentive for annoying moviegoers texting.

You need to make a list of alternate emergency contacts as well in case you specifically cannot be reached. You cannot tell me that you don’t leave procedures or routines of your children. It’s common sense to leave lists like that.

If your baby sitter can’t handle emergencies that require procedures like dialing an emergency contact other than you or alternately dialing 911….they need to be fired. Both ways, you’ll get the message if your phone is off.

Wally (profile) says:

Better way of handling the issue...

My wife and I ran into this problem watching “Prometheus”. These group of teenagers behind us were not talking, but texting each other…one of them had an iPhone and didn’t turn off the click sound on the device. I was getting miffed because I have a huge respect for the works of Ridley Scott and a huge fan of the first four Alien films (it’s up there with Trekky fandom).

So, this damn texting was very loud and rude. No excuse, just enjoy the (pardon my French) fucking film. I was about to yell and swear at them as the female face hugger, which honestly looks like a the fallopian uterine of a horse with human vaginal opening as the mouth with fangs for good measure, grabs a guy’s face.

Knowing full well and being versed in her own body, my wife chimes in loudly over the texting in Mystery Science Theater 3000 fashion:

“See Wally, that’s why you never piss off a woman,”

Dead silence from the group directly behind us as I struggle to stifle a laugh at the passive aggressiveness of my wife’s comment, for the rest of the movie….save a few jump scenes.

You don’t need an iPhone or device to enjoy the movie in a theater unless there is extra stuff gathered. It’s just plain rude to leave your phone on during the show and you should plan ahead in case of emergencies that would normally require it.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Rather Than Punishing Moviegoing Texters, Why Not Provide Incentives For Them To Put Down Their Phones?”

If you’re going to do this, why make it a “rather than” instead of an “and”? If someone is being disruptive, kick them out, regardless of incentives.

I’m also not convinced that people who forget to turn off their phones will suddenly remember due to this.

And… sigh… yet another way to track us. And to offset the costs of the rewards, slightly higher costs for those of us who simply turn our phones off or silent without downloading a stupid app to do it for us.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

You’re forgetting the number one reason that people want other people that misbehave to be punished: it makes them feel good and righteous. Why do I have to give a break to someone with good behavior, when punching him for bad behavior feels much better? You can see many examples in this thread. Statements like “they should, nay, DESERVE to be punished!” are a prime example. Some people are just turned on by the whole punishment thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Actually in this case it would be more that I paid probably $30-$50 dollars to take myself and my wife to a movie and the douche-bag on his phone should have a little common courtesy for everyone else. Sometimes the proper solution is punishment not more of the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality we see today.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

So, you’re against giving people trophies for not acting like jerks with you? Because punishment is better because… it’s punishment, and it makes you feel vindicated, or… something?

Maybe it makes it worth your money to see someone get kicked out of the theater, instead of seeing less people acting like jerks in the first place so that they don’t need to get kicked out?

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You’re fighting a method which may or may not be more successful at curbing the behavior that you so despise. Your “justification” is that the other method is better, but offer no evidence, just that it’s punishment, and punishment is sometimes better, so that the method should be better (circular logic). Then, you add that texting is more pervasive, more or less proving the point that the negative method isn’t working.

You’re just using an appeal to emotion: THIS behavior is out of control. “At an all time high! Pervasive!”. That changes nothing, and certainly does not define whether positive or negative reinforcement works better or worse at stopping it. Essentially, it’s “but… texting! Why do you hate moviegoers so much?”

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

OOOH, I see. Now it turns out *I* don’t understand courtesy. You’ve made your mind that I text during a movie, while I merely argue about using whatever method actually decreases the amount of “douche-bags” that text and interrupt movies, instead of thinking, like you, that there must be some sort of Inquisition that rains retribution over those that dare make you feel bad.

(see, I can also make snap judgments about specific people)

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Groove tiger, would you like it if you’re watching a movie in a theater and some asshole, who doesn’t know how to mute the device, who doesn’t turn off the button click sound, who has the brightness on full blast thereby potentially blinding and/or washing out a part of the picture.

It’s called common curtesy to turn off your device during a phone, nobody wants to hear that during the movie. You only get kicked out for at least not complying to turn off the phone if the steward asks you to..

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

So, you get pissed at people that want to give incentives to others so that they don’t do that thing that pisses you off so much, because it fails to make them suffer in the way that they have made you suffer?

All I’m hearing is “I want them to stop! But not with positive reinforcement! I want punishment! PUNISHMENT!”

Q.E.D.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The fact that there is an incentive based positive reinforcement for not texting is the biggest indication that kids are not being taught proper etiquette in theaters.

Tell me, what’s the biggest fear in a teenager these days??? A trophy that doesn’t mean anything and does nothing to actually reward you??? Or the potential for someone kicking you out of a movie that you just paid $10 to $20 to see after an apparent refusal to stop texting.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

That first sentence is ridiculous. “The fact that people are taking actions to teach people proper etiquette is the biggest indication that people don’t have proper etiquette!”

“A trophy that doesn’t mean anything and does nothing to actually reward you”

Basically, you’re starting from the assumption that “that method does not work, because it does not work, and therefore should not be used.” A trophy that does not reward you? I thought we were talking about discounts. Forgive me if I misread the article stating that there are discounts which according to you does not give discounts at all!

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Basically, you’re starting from the assumption that “that method does not work, because it does not work, and therefore should not be used.” A trophy that does not reward you? I thought we were talking about discounts. Forgive me if I misread the article stating that there are discounts which according to you does not give discounts at all!”

In all matter of speaking, the reward system is points based like a movie card…or for those who know this…a Speedy Rewards card. Easy there tiger your inner child is showing..

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

And what part of this…

“Basically, you’re starting from the assumption that “that method does not work, because it does not work, and therefore should not be used.” A trophy that does not reward you? I thought we were talking about discounts. Forgive me if I misread the article stating that there are discounts which according to you does not give discounts at all!”

….was rational???

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The bigger question is, why would you want an app that tracks what you do in a theater, and then sends the data to an unknown location??

I feel that the way this “reward system” is implemented is taking away the anonymity of its users…and for what??? A small popcorn and a soda that you can finish while walking up the steps to you seat…yeah great reward system Cinemark…

Aaron Wolf (profile) says:

What we need is flux/redshift

People laugh and react sometimes to movies, we know we are there as a crowd, it’s just that those bright blue lights from cell phones are really distracting.

What we need is flux (see stereopsis.com/flux) for all devices and have that go on in a “cine” mode so the screen is much more dim and red. That will be much less annoying, I guarantee it.

Problem is, Flux is available for iOS but Apple’s BS ToS don’t allow it, so you have to jailbreak your device. Plus, none of the Android apps to do the same thing are any good. The Android apps all add *red* color universally across the screen, thus making blacks become more red instead of *removing* blue color.

Incidentally, GNU/Linux users should get “redshift” instead.

I really highly recommend this for normal use at night anyway separate from cinema. But the point is: it is the harsh blue tint of these screens that is so annoying whether in a theatre or anywhere else at night. Bad for your eyes, unnatural, and distracting to anyone around you.

Anonymous Coward says:

How about making movies that don’t bore you enough where you don’t want to text? Trust me, last movie I went to, no one was texting. During TDKR, there was both crying and applauding in multiple cases, and no one was bored, even though it was almost 3 hours. So, best solution, make movies worth watching and not boring filler ones…

Davey says:

“Positive reinforcement” is just another term for bribing aholes to pretend for a while that they’re not aholes. Like giving kids candy if they quit kicking younger kids. The primary effect of which is to get the rest of the kids getting in on the kicking, too, because that’s what gets you candy.

The way to deal with the problem is to block all cell usage in the theater, period. If the customer is too self-important to just watch the movie, tough shit. They’re where they don’t belong. Moviegoing is already a marginal experience. Catering to narcissistic morons just speeds up the demise of the remaining market.

Making it a policy to submit to extortion is the dumbest idea I’ve seen around here — and that’s a pretty low bar sometimes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Context

I think it’s terribly amusing that so many people think negative reinforcement actually works. Seriously, if it did the prisons would be empty! Think about it, so many are repeat offenders being punished over and over, and you think kicking someone out of a movie is going to stop them talking or texting?

Mr. Applegate says:

Not just in movie theaters

This is a problem in many community theaters too. One theater I work for has taken to announcing. “If you see someone using a cell phone ask them to put it away. If we see someone using a cell phone we will ask them to leave, without a refund.”

Doesn’t stop all of it, but it does empower those whom it bothers to at least feel justified in asking them to put it away.

I rarely go to theaters anymore, but when I do I always go on the first Sunday showing when the theater is nearly deserted.

timmaguire42 (profile) says:

So let me see if I have this straight: in response to the problem of people texting during movies, Cinemark creates a system that encourages people to text during movies.

People who don’t have smart phones, turn their phones off, or simply don’t use them are ineligible for the reward, but a portion of their ticket money will be ised to fund the incentive for bad behavior.

And this is proposed as a better alternative to kicking people out for rude and disruptive behavior?

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Trying to treat the symptom rather than the problem not only won’t work, but it opens the door for some truly bad inadvertent outcomes.”
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121220/10112121453/david-cameron-plans-radical-child-protection-internet-measures.shtml

As I said above, what will my reward be to refrain from playing my bagpipes?

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re:

This is late because I was on vacation, and you’ll probably never see this, but…

You are changing the goal posts here. Airplane mode and/or powering off are not the same as dimming the screen and putting it into vibrate mode, nor does airplane mode/powering off give you discounts. I did not say that you needed more than one button to put your phone in a state appropriate for a theater. I said if pushing one button to get your phone in a state appropriate for a theater AND getting discounts is a bad thing, then go without the discounts. Your phone can turn off with one button, so can mine. Your phone can go into airplane mode with one button, so can mine. But you won’t get any discounts (and neither will I because I wouldn’t install this app, but that is beside the point).

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