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Examining the Cell Phone Rule

When entering the ballroom for an NABC event, you pass by the "No electronic devices beyond this point" signs.  The question is, why?

The intention behind this rule is to hinder attempts to cheat.  However, I'm not convinced the rule actually accomplishes anything because nobody actively checks players for cell phones.  If players were trying to cheat by receiving text messages, they could continue to have their phone in their pocket and keep it on vibrate.  The only difference is, if their cell phone rings they get a larger-than-normal penalty. Even when their phones do go off, the director doesn't go to the phone and read through the messages, they just assign the penalty...

Meanwhile, the policy creates a major problem for the innocent majority, while not fixing the problem it was designed to solve. As discussed in the  Toronto Feedback thread, nationals are people's vacations and having a rule that causes such inconvenience before and after the game is unwarranted. The nationals are an opportunity for people to see friends that they haven't seen in a while, and having a cellphone makes it easier for people to get in touch.

Not having a cellphone makes me feel like I'm back in the Dark Ages, and I know I'm not alone. Quite a few players deliberately flout the policy by keeping their phone in their pockets.  The cell phone policy is actually quite similar to the speed limit law -- a law more "honored in the breach than in the observance". If the ACBL really wants to appeal to a younger demographic, it might want to reconsider this policy for large national events.

What do the rest of you think?

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