A Story: The Statistics of Free Pizza

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A Statistical Guide to Maximize Your Chance of Free Pizza
By – Carmen[Redacted]

Whether you’€™re familiar with Reddit or not, you should know that there exists a place on the internet wherein you can request someone buy you pizza and if you are convincing enough, a kind internet stranger will grant your wish. Crazy right?! Here is the link to said website.

Quickly looking through a few of the posts I’m struck with some initial thoughts:

  • There are a varying degree of tactics employed to sucker random people into buying pizza
  • Some people are successful at getting pizza (I’ll call them pizza-havers) while others are not (henceforth referred to as losers)

If only there was some way we could statistically analyze all this data in order to maximize our likelihood of getting some sweet, delicious, free pizza. What’€™s that? There is a way?! Fuck yes.

Before I teach you moochers how to get free food, use your grubby pizza-starved grabbers to head over to this link. While you’€™re at it, take some time to thank Althoff et al. for painstakingly gathering and sharing this data set, so that non-geniuses like myself can have some fun.

Stats Time

It’s worth noting that based on this data approximately 25% of people who ask for free pizza end up getting it. 1 in 4 people get free pizza, that’s not too bad; hopefully we can do better. It’€™s important to remember the 25% number, because whenever we see a probability of getting pizza greater than 25% we are doing better than random, and that’s really all a statistician can hope for.

So let’s get to it. Step one- I was really interested in the length of the post (aka the number of words) vs. the time of posting as a function of getting free pizza. Check it out.

 

Stats1

Holy shit– that looks bad. No problem.
With a little stats magic and we can check out the probability of getting pizza based on the time posted.

SYC_Carmen_Graph1

Much better. Just don’t post before 7am and you should be ok. If we keep in mind that on average only 25% of users are getting pizza, posting after 7ish puts you up closer to 30%. Right on.

Let’s check out word count again. This time by itself.

SYC_Carmen_Graph2

Interesting- if you have between 117 to 165 words you’re up to whopping 35% chance of getting yourself some free pizza.

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, I found a subgroup of users that have requested pizza multiple times.

SYC_Carmen_Stats

Mother of God– These pizza savants are getting free food 50% of the time?!? How? My only guess is they have somehow built a time machine, travelled forward through time, read this article, returned to their present day, and now are statistically gaming the system. But seriously, whats up with that? Well… Like any good statistical question, the answer is: I currently have no idea because I haven’t had the time to look into it.

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