Testing the Fowl Play Trailer with Mechanical Turk

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I had heard of Amazon's Mechanical Turk project before, but it was all a little bit over my head until Andy Baio showed how it's done. Mechanical Turk is a way to micropay people to do various tasks that a computer can't do well. Andy demonstrates how to produce a transcript from an mp3 for $15.

I usually ask the people around me what they think of the projects I'm working on, but those people are usually fearful of my fiery temper or already a member of whatever club I'm trying to sign people up for.

So I decided to test the new Fowl Play trailer on an audience of 5 people, for the price of 2 dollars apiece. And I got some interesting feedback:
Describe your emotional response to the trailer - your reaction to the film and to the practice of factory egg farming. 

It is very sad to see the animals treated that way and I would hope that we could do something to change it. 

All I can say is wow. This is not my first time hearing about the topic, but after seeing it again it really brought back feelings of horror for me. It is just so devastating to see this. I am glad someone is taking the time out to expose this issue.

It's gut-wrenching, guilt-inducing and very, very sad.

I live on an old farm, although we do not farm anymore, i am aware of the large factory farms you are describing here. The picture of the old country farm house and barn just do not exist anymore due to the large need of the American public for food. The factory farms are a necessity, but cruelty is unacceptable

I cried like a baby. I had some knowledge of this because of PETA; but to actually see it is devastating.

What did you think of the two people who spoke in this trailer ("the man" and "the woman")? Did you find them attractive or unattractive in their appearance, manner of speaking, or the points they brought up? 

I found the two people to be very well spoken, their inflection and tone of voice was perfect for the trailer and topic. 

I think that they are very brave in doing this to expose the truth. They seem very genuine in their efforts and I feel as though they were very shocked by what they discovered while making this documentary also.

Their appearance was nice.  Definitely "alt" without making me feel like their looks were the focus.  

Very well spoken and intelligent. Their points were good points for a trailer, but I would hope the movie has more fact.

I found them very informative and caring

They were both attractive, sincere and well spoken.

Describe what you thought of the music in the trailer; if it was distracting, if you think it added to the impact, if you had trouble hearing the talking heads - anything you can think of. 

The music def. added to the impact and should be left in. 

I think it added to the impact and it was needed. Some may think that it was overly dramatic, but I feel as though it added to the emotion that was being shown at the time.

The music was fine.  After being inundated with John Williams-esque movie music, it takes something being realllly over the top to distract me.  It was nice, added to the emotional feel of it without being sappy or too in my face.

The background music was not distracting, not too loud.  It was almost sympathitic

The music added greatly to the emotional resonance of the film trailer.

Does this short trailer change your views on food? If not, why not? If so, how? 

Yes it does somewhat, It will make me think twice next time I purchase eggs. 

Yes, it changes my view on food. It really makes you think about what you are eating and consuming. You just assume that what you eat is being well taken care of and not mistreated in such a manner.

The trailer, no.  Truthfully, I know what happens to animals on farms, and I don't approve.  I'm not a vegetarian and not likely to ever be, but it takes serious self-deception to think that food still comes from the happy farms with playful cows and chickens.  

Due to my background, it does not change my views of food production, but it brings to point the unnecessary cruelty that happens all too often.  The industry should be able , in this day and age, to provide a safe and painless environment for these animals.  Just like children, if reaised in sunshine will good food and water, exercise and caring, a better product will be the result.  Small farm raised animals are better cared for, as can be seen with 4-H amimals, and they also are safely butchered for human consumption.  A larger scale does not make cruelty necessary

My immediate response was to question my current views and eating habits. I own animals. Why should my cats be treated better than the chickens we use to produce eggs etc.? There should be no distinction.

Any additional thoughts?

I believe that your documentary will make a huge impact on the industry and also think you should get it in front of Oprah as she has a very big interest in this sort of thing. IN addition this would be fine for older children, teens but would not let anyone under the age of 12 see it. 

I would be interested in seeing this film if it comes out and telling others about it also. I have subscribed to the website so please send updates. Thanks for this opportunity :-)

(3rd respondent had no additional thoughts)

Good Job!  For a modern society, we can treat our animals better.  This  needs to be brought to the publics attention.

I am so glad you are exposing this shameful industry for what it is. We need to know about these disgraceful practices so we can make informed decisions about what we buy and eat.

All respondents said they were interested in seeing the full-length film after watching the trailer, which is a good sign. But - Mechanical Turk allows job requesters to reject results they don't like and withhold payment. What sort of bias does that lend to these answers? How do you avoid this sort of bias?

I suppose I could pay each respondent less than $2 next time and ask for more responses, but that seems like a fair price for 10 minutes worth of work. And yet, other tasks that were also offering $2 in payment at the time I submitted my job included posting 30 comments on a web site and writing a full-length article, so I was asking people to do comparatively little for the price.

I think there are a lot of opportunities to use Mechanical Turk for animal rights tasks. Let me know in the comments if you think of any.

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This page contains a single entry by Adam Durand published on December 3, 2008 7:35 PM.

A new trailer edit for the Celebrating Compassion Gala was the previous entry in this blog.

Nominated for Best Documentary at Show Off Your Shorts is the next entry in this blog.

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