Online Tournament Guide
This section of NAQT’s online tournament guide contains specific advice for scorekeepers at online quiz bowl tournaments.
As with the rest of this guide, this page assumes that the tournament is following NAQT’s recommendations for videoconferencing technologies, game format, rule changes, and tournament policies.
In addition, this guide assumes you have basic familiarity with the scoring and gameplay rules that will be used at the tournament. If you don’t, seek help from the tournament director.
General Pre-Tournament Instructions
Check with the tournament director to make sure you know how the tournament will be handling scorekeeping.
Tournament directors may add to, omit, or modify policies in this guide, so the procedures may differ from those mentioned here.
In particular, you should know the answers to these questions:
- What data are being collected? For example, are individual results being kept or just total scores?
- How are those data to be recorded and stored?
- How are those data to be transmitted to the statistician?
- Make sure you know the time zone in which the tournament is occurring. If this differs from your own, be prepared to adjust published times if the tournament director neglects to explicitly label them.
- Make sure you know whether you will also be moderating. If so, read our guide for moderators as well.
- If you are also serving as a coach for one or more teams, understand that it is unlikely that you will be able to do much actual coaching (or even team-watching) during the tournament. If you have concerns about acting as both a scorekeeper and coach, address them with the tournament director in advance.
- If you are also serving as a chaperone, make sure the tournament director understands you are filling both roles. As at in-person tournaments, the tournament director may require that chaperones be adults who are not responsible for overseeing gameplay in case their attention is needed.
- Buy, install, and test any videoconferencing equipment that you will need.
- Download and install the Zoom Client for Meetings (or the appropriate Zoom Mobile App). This is free, and you do not need to make a Zoom account. Do not use the Zoom web client (which has worse audio and video quality and limited features).
- If the tournament director arranges a pre-tournament session to test videoconferencing and demonstrate gameplay, try as hard as you can to make it. Online quiz bowl feels different, and even a little exposure can go a long way toward making you comfortable (even if you have lots of experience with in-person quiz bowl).
- Arrange with your family, colleagues, and/or roommates to have a (physical) room to yourself during the tournament. In addition, arrange with them for relative quiet in the rest of the building. This is less important for scorekeepers than for other participants, as you will be expected to speak relatively little during the game (and can thus conveniently use “push-to-talk”), but it is still important to minimize distractions.
- Arrange with your family, colleagues, and/or roommates for them to minimize network use during the upcoming tournament.
Make sure you know…
- how to enable/disable your video feed
- how to mute/unmute your microphone
- whether your audio setup will require you to use “push-to-talk” mode (see below), and if so, how to use it when muted
- how to change your Zoom display name
- Create, rename, and share a copy of the master electronic scoresheet (as described below) for your game room, so you are ready to start entering data. (This may require creating a Google/Gmail account. You will not need to send or receive email using this account.)
- Familiarize yourself with NAQT’s rule changes for online games.
- Tournaments will use the Zoom videoconferencing platform. Unless you are also a moderator, you will not need to make a Zoom account at any point in the process. There is no separate charge to you (or your school, if any) for using Zoom. (A charge for creating Zoom meetings will be paid by the tournament host.)
- In the context of online tournaments, a game room will be a Zoom meeting that lasts for an entire day of gameplay and has a specific URL.
- It is expected that you will join the game room (Zoom meeting) under your own display name, but if you can gain access to gameplay data in another way (e.g., by being in the same room as another participant and watching and listening to their feed), you may do so. The rest of this page will assume you are joining via Zoom.
- It is recommended that you enable a video feed during the match, but a moderator may vouch for your identity. You may not use Zoom features (including virtual backgrounds) that alter your video feed.
- You must have a working audio feed, since questions, responses, and moderator judgments will be given orally. You may also need to interact with the moderator (e.g., to clarify scoring) or the players and/or coaches (e.g., to announce the score or resolve discrepancies).
- You must use Zoom’s “push-to-talk” feature if you are not using either (a) a headset or (b) a combination of headphones/earbuds and a (quality) external microphone. If you have one of those setups, you are encouraged to use standard voice triggering for their audio (unless background noise is a problem).
- NAQT suggests that you use a headset for online quiz bowl. We understand that headsets aren’t free and have no analogue for in-person tournaments, but our pre-season testing makes it clear they offer a significant improvement in the all-important audio quality of a game. Headsets dramatically reduce background noise and feedback.
- No staff member (or other participant) may record matches (in part or in whole, for any reason).
Before the Tournament
- Open the master electronic scoresheet. This is a publicly shared, read-only Google Sheet.
File → Make a copyto copy the Google Sheet into your own Google Drive. (If you do not have a Google Drive, one will be automatically generated when you create a Gmail account.)
Rename your copy of the Google Sheet to something involving the tournament name and an identifier for the room in which you’ll be working.
For example, if you are assigned to Room A at a tournament named the 2020 Central Invitational, use the name
2020 Central Invitational Room A. If you don’t know your room identifier in advance, you can wait and do this step once you know it.
- Share your Google Sheet with any person or people specified by the tournament director. This is how the tournament’s statistician will get access to the game data. Allow this person (or these people) to edit (not just view) it.
- Read the instructions on the first tab of the Google Sheet.
At the Start of Each Game
Duplicate the “Scoresheet” tab (this is different from making a local copy of the entire Sheet).
Rename the duplicated tab to
Round N, where N is the round number. Move the new tab to its proper place (with higher-numbered rounds to the right). This is the tab that you will use to keep score in this game.
- Fill out the top portion of the scoresheet (tournament, round, moderator). The fields will lose their red “error” coloration as you complete them.
Tournament pairings will designate one team in each room as “X” and the other as “Y”. This designation is unrelated to the use of letters to differentiate multiple teams from the same school. For instance, Central C could be the “X” (first) team in its Round 1 game, while Academy A could be the “Y” (second) team in the game.
Put team “X” on the left and team “Y” on the right. Enter just the players’ names on the scoresheet, not the annotated names displayed on Zoom, e.g.,
Avery Parkrather than
[X] Avery Park.
- Notice that the scoresheet has columns for eight players per team, but three of those columns start out hidden. Unhide those when necessary if a team has more than five people compete in a game.
- If you have a schedule or other specification of the teams to expect, help the moderator verify the proper teams are in the room.
- If the moderator requests that you share the scoresheet with them, do so.
During Each Game
- Record the tossup and bonus points scored as the game goes on. Each row on the scoresheet should correspond to that tossup-bonus cycle in the game. If tossup 1 goes unanswered, move on to row 2 to record the result of tossup 2.
- Enter a “1” to indicate a bonus part was answered correctly and a “0” to indicate an incorrect answer.
- You may be asked for a score check at half-time or during a timeout. The spreadsheet should always be up-to-date so you can give the current score immediately. If players have quick questions at this time (“How many points did we get on bonus 5?” “Was our answer on tossup 2 for power?”), answer those questions.
- Cells highlighted in red indicate an error with the data entry that must be resolved. If gameplay must be stopped to resolve the error, tell the moderator between tossup-bonus cycles.
- There are rows for 28 tossup-bonus cycles, but the bottom 4 are hidden. If the game goes to that many cycles, unhide the remaining rows.
- In general, the moderator will handle monitoring and clearing the BuzzIn.Live site used to simulate a buzzer system, but they may ask you to do so instead of them. If you are comfortable doing so, work with the moderator to create or transfer ownership of the BuzzIn room using the appropriate premium key.
After Each Game
- Confirm the final score with the players and coaches. If there is any dispute, help the moderator resolve it.
- Fill in the “TUH” (tossups heard) number in row 34 for each player. All other final statistics should be computed automatically.
- If the tournament director has provided you with instructions for indicating that a round is done (e.g., “Post a message in this chatroom.”), do that. Otherwise, you can start preparing for your next round’s game.
More Things to Know
Please also read…
- NAQT’s policies on handling technical problems during games
- NAQT’s technical and behavioral suggestions for improving the online quiz bowl experience
- NAQT’s comments on cheating and anti-cheating measures in online quiz bowl
NAQT wants to hear about your experience with online quiz bowl—write to firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions, questions, complaints, or any other comments.