Online Tournament Guide
The page of NAQT’s online tournament guide describes changes to the rules to be used for online games.
The starting point for these rules are NAQT’s Official Rules for gameplay. Any rule that is not explicitly changed by this page remains in effect.
Changes to the Rules
- Change to Rule D.5
- Teams may also make substitutions if an active player drops from the game room or if their connection quality makes it impossible for them to properly participate. The determination of whether a player can properly participate is made by the moderator and is not protestable. After the conclusion of the tossup-bonus cycle in which the drop occurs, gameplay will be stopped and both teams may make substitutions. The moderator may choose to wait (with gameplay stopped) to see if the player is able to rejoin the game or rectify their connection. Guidelines for waiting may be found on this guide’s page about technical problems.
- Change to Rule F.2.f
- In online games, regulation gameplay will consist of two halves comprising ten tossup-bonus cycles each. That is, regulation play will have 20 tossups plus whatever bonuses are earned. Note that this does not represent a philosophical shift at NAQT, but the pragmatic view that online quiz bowl should start as simply as possible. It is likely that this guide will eventually be updated to include timed rounds. (Overtime, if necessary, will be played according to the usual rules.)
- Addition to Rule G.8
- The determination of whether a player signaled before or after the powermark (if the moderator fails to stop reading immediately) will be made by the moderator and is not protestable.
- Change to Rule H.2
- A player should indicate they are giving their team’s official bonus answer to the moderator by preceding the answer with “Our answer is” (e.g., “Our answer is ‘George Washington.’”) These words should be used even after the team is asked by the moderator for its answer or when another player has been designated to give the answer. (In short, these words should always be used to introduce the official answer.) A moderator may interpret an answer that is not preceded by “Our answer is” as the team’s answer if they believe the team unambiguously intends it as such; that determination is unprotestable.
- Change to Rule H.3
- When the moderator asks the team for an answer to a bonus part (typically 4 seconds after finishing reading it), the team has 3 seconds to begin its answer. The words “Our answer is” are considered part of the answer, so a player need only to have said “Our” by the 3-second mark for the answer to be “in time” (though they must continue giving the rest of the answer without pause).
- New Rule Regarding Technical Problems
- If, in the moderator’s judgment, mistakes or technical issues prevented all or part of a tossup question from being transmitted in a comprehensible form, they may inform teams of the issue and re-read all or part of the tossup. This determination is not protestable. Such a rereading consists of choosing a suitable starting point and rereading the question to the end. The determination to re-read all or part of a tossup question must be made before either team has signaled. This determination should only be made if the moderator can identify a reason for believing their audio stream to have been interrupted (e.g., the moderator was muted, the moderator’s volume was turned down, the moderator’s Internet connection dropped); it is not appropriate to re-read a question based solely on players’ assertions that poor (or nonexistent) audio quality rendered a tossup unplayable.
- New Rule Regarding Re-Reading Bonus Parts
- A team may ask the moderator to re-read the immediately previous bonus part re-read if the team has not yet given an answer and has not yet been asked for an answer. If this is the first part of the bonus, the team may also ask the moderator to re-read the introduction to the bonus. The moderator will always do so for each team’s first such request per game. The moderator may accede to subsequent requests from the same team at the moderator’s discretion; this decision is not protestable. Moderators should not frequently re-read bonus parts to make up for players’ poor network connection, avoidable background noise, or players’ own chatter.
- New Rule Regarding Typing Answers
- Answers must ordinarily be given orally (i.e., by speaking and transmitting the answer using Zoom’s audio feature). However, a moderator may request that a player type a response if technical issues prevent them from hearing it. Only the moderator may decide that an answer should be typed; a player may not decide to do so of their own volition. If the moderator requests that a player type a response, the player should do so, and evaluating the response (e.g., in terms of misspellings and typos) is at the moderator’s discretion.
- New Rule Regarding Bonus Conferring
- Players are encouraged to confer (on bonuses) orally. However, players may confer on bonuses using Zoom Chat if all messages are sent to “Everyone”. (See the next rule for elaboration on how conferral must be witnessable.) Regardless of how conferring occurs, the team’s answer must be given orally (and prefaced with “Our answer is”).
- New Rule Regarding Communication
- Players may not privately communicate with anyone else during gameplay via any medium (including Zoom Chat). A private communication is anything not immediately and easily seen or heard by every participant in the game (except to the extent that connection problems might interfere). Players may communicate with other participants or outside parties when gameplay is stopped.
- Definition of Gameplay Stoppage
- During an online match, gameplay is considered to be “stopped” before the first question is read, during a timeout called by either team, at halftime, before overtime, in situations similar to those of Rules F.8.c or F.8.e that would normally entail stopping the clock, and as specified by the Change to Rule D.5 above. In general, gameplay is not “stopped” between questions, even if a question is not being read or answered at that exact moment.
- New Rule Regarding Protests on Network Issues
- Protests regarding network issues or performance, including (but not limited to) latency and its handling by BuzzIn.Live, are not permitted.
Every rule not listed above is unchanged. A few examples:
- Tossup timing rules remain the same: 3 seconds to buzz in after a tossup is completed, 2 seconds to answer after buzzing in (and being recognized).
- Teams will still be asked for an answer 1 second before the canonical time to answer, which means after 4 seconds unless the question specifies a total time limit other than the usual 5 seconds. (However, as mentioned in the Change to Rule H.3, they will then have 3 additional seconds to begin answering.)
- The rules about computation timing still apply (for question sets that contain computation questions). NAQT’s subject distribution has not been altered for online quiz bowl.
NAQT also recommends a series of policies for dealing with technical problems during games.