A man from Stanford University took to Reddit to study its popular “Random Acts Of Pizza” thread in hopes of revealing several key strategies to ensure that when you ask for something, you get it.
“Random Acts Of Pizza,” is a section of Reddit where people post requests for free pizza, and others have the opportunity to fulfil those requests if they feel compelled to. Its motto is: “The power of kindness, one slice at a time.”
In order to figure out which approaches to get pizza were the most successful, Tim Althoff at Stanford “downloaded and analysed the entire history of the sub-Reddit — more than 21,000 posts,” reports Gizmodo, figuring out how many people got the pizza they asked for, and the way in which they asked (were they polite? Did they keep the request short and sweet?).
You can read the entire study here, but based on his findings, here are Althoff’s tips for making a good case for getting what you want from someone (even a stranger on the internet.)
Make sure you have a story to go with your request
Using pizza as an example, just asking for a pie won’t be enough. Did you lose your job? Are you having a rough week at school? Did your wallet get stolen? Stories communicating need got the most positive responses.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, so pay up if you said you would
If you’re asking to borrow money or an item of value from someone, make sure you’re very clear about if, how, and when you’ll pay the money back or reciprocate the favour. Then, make good on your word.
Know your ‘credit score,’ because status is important
Redditors are granted ‘karma’ which helps them reach higher status within the subcommunities. Those with higher karma were more likely to get pizza, because they had been proved trusted members of Reddit.
Think of it like a personal credit score: those who consistently hold up to their end of bargains are more likely to be trusted in the future.
Politeness doesn’t matter (on Reddit)
An interesting part of the study: On Reddit, politeness rarely mattered. Althoff found that the givers appreciated a ‘thank you,’ but that was about it.
This is probably one finding that won’t translate into making requests in the real world, but then again, if you have a history of not making good on your word, your manners won’t likely be the thing that saves you.
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