Integrity Policy for Online National Championships
NAQT’s Integrity Policy is intended to ensure that its national championships occur without cheating and—almost as importantly—without the suspicion of cheating.
The policy has two parts. First, all active players need to have their faces and both hands visible on camera at essentially all times. Second, game officials may give players additional directives during the game in response to observed behavior.
NAQT made small modifications to this policy for the 2022 championship season. Those changes are highlighted.
Active players must keep their faces and both hands visible on camera at essentially all times.
Teams Playing from a Single Location
It is sufficient to position the camera to show all active players’ faces and hands during gameplay. It should be clear from the image that no player is using any electronic device other than a phone (or comparable device) to buzz in. If players are sitting at desks, remove any materials from the desks that might block the view of their hands.
Players in Separate Locations
Each player must have their own camera, set up to capture their face and both hands. NAQT recommends that the player accomplish this by sitting relatively far back from the camera (three to four feet) so the camera’s field of view includes the face and hands while the player can position themself in a natural way.
A player sitting back from their camera can use a phone (or other mobile device) with BuzzIn.Live. They may also use a wireless/external keyboard or some other device (such as a USB numeric keypad). The display of any such device must be visible on camera.
Players who cannot position themselves in this way may compete so long as they keep both hands in view of the camera (such as by holding them near their face). This is also most easily accomplished in conjunction with using a phone (or other similar device) to buzz.
Teams who aren’t using either of these basic setups or who have players who can’t comply with the requirement of having their face and both hands visible on camera should write to NAQT in advance to try to identify a solution that meets the goals of the Integrity Policy.
Exceptions and Additional Details
These rules apply to active players during gameplay. Inactive players, coaches, and spectators need not follow them in full, but those people’s faces must be visible on video at all times during gameplay. Active players need not follow them when gameplay has stopped.
It is not expected that both hands (and the face) will be visible at every instant during gameplay. Game officials have the discretion to determine that quick, natural breaks from visibility are inconsequential. As a rough rule, having one or both hands occasionally out of view for less than two seconds is likely to be inconsequential. The intent is that players can adjust their clothing, scratch an itch, flex their hand, etc. even if doing so removes a hand from view.
A player in push-to-talk mode (due to background noise) may have one hand out of view after buzzing on a tossup or during bonus conferral if that hand is being used to toggle push-to-talk mode. This will likely be inconvenient and slow; NAQT strongly recommends finding audio gear (and sufficiently quiet surroundings) to allow the use of voice triggering.
On computation tossups and bonuses, the moderator will pause for two seconds after reading the words “Pencil and paper ready.” No hands need be in view for the duration of these questions (including the period during which answers are given and evaluated). The requirement resumes with the next tossup or bonus.
If a moderator specifically requests that a player type an answer (into Zoom Chat), the player is not required to show their hands while doing so. Remember that players may not choose to type answers of their own accord.
Consequences for Noncompliance
Repeated or blatant instances of noncompliance may lead to a player being formally warned or ejected.
If a game official determines that a player’s hand and/or face positioning during a question is noncompliant, any answer they give on that question will be treated as incorrect, and for bonus parts, if the player participates in conferral then the team’s answer will be treated as incorrect (even if the player is not the one who gives the answer). This may result in the player being given an interrupt penalty. This determination may be made even if a formal warning had not previously been given.
Determinations of noncompliance are not protestable.
A player who was noncompliant during a tossup or bonus (whether or not they suffered any consequences) may resume answering or conferring at the start of the next question (not cycle), as long as they have returned to compliance with the policy.
Players using phones (or other mobile devices) to buzz should ensure that they have sufficient battery life for the entire tournament or that they have power cords long enough to be used in conjunction with this policy.
It is permitted for a player to satisfy this policy by using two cameras (one for the face and one for the hands), but NAQT does not recommend this solution due to added complexity and additional bandwidth.
Players who use a USB device (external keyboard or keypad) to buzz may find it convenient to purchase a USB hub if their computer has a limited number of ports.
Players should choose a setup that will allow them to be generally looking at their camera. This may involve moving the camera nearer to their screen, running Zoom on the device to which the camera is attached, and/or foregoing the use of a second monitor. Frequently looking away from the camera can look suspicious.
NAQT does not recommend using a mouse to buzz while sitting back from the camera. It is too difficult to keep the pointer over the on-screen button.
During the game, an official may give specific players or teams additional directives intended to allay suspicions that they are receiving impermissible help, such as…
- Directing a player to move objects that are blocking the view of their face or hands
- Directing a player to look at the camera and/or Zoom display
- Directing a player to promptly move their camera to show what people or objects, if any, are in their immediate vicinity
- Directing a player to have other people in their immediate vicinity leave
- Directing a player to unmute themselves to reveal other ambient sound (such as typing or conversation)
A player who refuses to comply with these directives in a prompt and satisfactory manner may be ejected from the game or tournament; may have their current, past, and/or future games forfeited; and may have past scoring modified.
This policy will be enforced by NAQT’s game-room staff, including officials specifically assigned that task.
Players, coaches, and spectators are not part of the enforcement team and should not be publicly offering opinions or alleging violations during gameplay. People who repeatedly interject themselves into the enforcement of the policy may themselves be warned or even ejected. If staff have questions for players, coaches, or spectators about an incident related to this policy, those participants may answer in whatever way requested, but all remarks should be addressed to the game official.
Intercollegiate Championship Tournament
Small School National Championship Tournament
High School National Championship Tournament
Sectional Championship Tournaments (community college and four-year)
At these tournaments, any active player, coach, or chaperone (but not spectators) may send integrity-related concerns via private Zoom chat to the host of the game room Zoom meeting (typically the moderator), but only when gameplay is stopped. This is an exception to the general rule that all communication must be accessible to all parties.
Middle School National Championship Tournament
At this tournament, any coach or chaperone (but not players) may send integrity-related concerns via private Zoom chat to the moderator (when gameplay is stopped). This is an exception to the general rule that all communication must be accessible to all parties.
High School Individual Player National Championship Tournament
Middle School Individual Player National Championship Tournament
At these tournaments, any player, coach, or chaperone may send integrity-related concerns via private Zoom chat to the moderator (when gameplay is stopped). This is an exception to the general rule that all communication must be accessible to all parties. Since there are no timeouts at these tournaments, such messages must occur at a natural break in gameplay.
At these tournaments, each room will have an official dedicated to monitoring compliance with this policy.
All national championship attendees may also raise concerns about integrity by visiting the tournament’s Atrium Zoom meeting between games. No attendee should leave an ongoing game to join the Atrium for this purpose.