Moderating and scorekeeping a match on Zoom (built-in chat method)

This page covers how to moderate (and scorekeep) a match on Zoom using Zoom’s built-in chat. This page covers the other accepted method, which uses the website BuzzIn.Live. PACE recommends using BuzzIn.Live, but both will work effectively. Check with your tournament director to see which method will be in use at your tournament.

Setting up your screen:

While moderating for your tournament, you will need to keep track of several windows or tabs: the questions that you’ll be reading, the video of the participants, the buzzer interface, and, if you are scorekeeping as well, a scoresheet. Proper setup of your screen(s) is critical.

  • Open the Zoom chat. If your chat window is not already in pop-out mode, there is a drop-down menu at the top of the window (to the left of the word Chat) where you should do so. 
  • Unfortunately, the Zoom client does not play a sound when messages are sent in the chat. Position your chat window in a way that maximizes the likelihood that you will not miss a new message.
    • The strongest arrangement places the chat window in the upper right corner (since new messages appear in the bottom left of the chat window and closer to the center of the computer screen, your eyes are more likely to detect the text movement).
  • Typically, moderators for online tournaments will place the questions in a screen-wide window at the bottom, while the Zoom video is above to the left (and the chat window is placed as mentioned previously
    • Alternatively, the questions can be placed in a tall window on the left, the Zoom video in the bottom right, and the chat window in the upper right.
  • If you are reading the questions in Microsoft Word, consider using the “Split” tool under “Window” to view both tossups and bonuses simultaneously.


Moderators who are also scorekeeping have an additional layer of complexity to handle.

  • The scoresheet is typically in a browser window. If you are also reading questions from another browser window, either put them in the same window and use a keyboard shortcut to switch between tabs, or put the windows in the same space and use a keyboard shortcut to switch windows rapidly. Using keyboard shortcuts to switch back and forth is considerably more efficient than clicking.

TODO: add screenshot of match in progress with windows


  • Between rounds, it is very easy to miss new players arriving to the waiting room, since Zoom’s notification for new entrants in the waiting room is unfortunately subtle. Check every few seconds while waiting for new teams to arrive.
  • If you have trouble noticing buzzes throughout the day, you can request that players follow-up buzzes by unmuting their microphones and saying “buzz.”
    • Alternatively, you can designate a player per round (with an extremely quiet environment) to remain unmuted during tossups and ask them to audibly say “buzz” when a buzz is made.