Online Tournament Rules

This page contains a list of rules to handle cases specific to online quizbowl tournaments. These rules supplement the Official PACE Ruleset.

Tossup Recognition: In online tournaments, players buzz in on tossup questions by typing “buzz” in the text chat. Saying “buzz” via voice is not a valid way to buzz in. Players must be recognized by the moderator before giving an answer. The buzz order the moderator sees is the official order. It may be different than what a player sees on their screen. Players who give an answer without being recognized will be penalized for conferring if they were not truly the first player to buzz on the moderator’s screen.

Tossup Timing: Players will have 8 seconds to answer a tossup after buzzing in. The timing for tossups going dead does not change. It remains 5 seconds.

Bonus Timing: Teams will have 8 seconds to confer on bonus parts. Tournaments that use bouncebacks should give teams 5 seconds to answer a bounceback.

Buzzing In Again on a Tossup: All buzzes apart from the first buzz will not be considered by the moderator. Consider the following scenario:

Player 1 from Team A buzzes in the middle of a tossup.

Player 2 from Team B buzzes immediately after Player 1.

Player 1 gets the tossup incorrect.

In this case, the moderator will continue reading without considering the buzz from Player 2. If Player 2 wishes to buzz in again, they must type “buzz” again.

This also applies at the end of the question. If both teams haven’t buzzed yet and Player 1 and Player 2 both buzz right as the question ends, Player 2 will still need to buzz in again if Player 1 was incorrect.

Another way to put this is that all buzzes beyond the first buzz on a question are considered automatic withdraws.

Withdrawing: In some online quizbowl formats, it’s common to let players withdraw answers without facing a penalty by typing “wd.” In the team events covered by this rule, it is never acceptable to withdraw. Any player buzzing first and attempting to withdraw will be considered to have given an incorrect answer.

Moderators Failing to Recognize Buzzes: Moderators will make their best effort to see buzzes and stop reading right away. However, it’s common at online tournaments for there to be some delay before this happens.

The official buzz point is when the moderator stopped reading. Consider a tossup like this:

Manne Siegbahn introduced the notation used in spectroscopy based on this radiation, which includes the k alpha transition. ESCA [Player Buzzes] uses this phenomenon to induce the (*) photoelectric effect. Because this radiation has wavelengths on the same scale as interatomic spacing, crystal lattices serve as effective diffraction gratings [Moderator Recognizes Buzz]

Even if a player “knew” the answer at the buzz point after ESCA, they will not be granted power on this question since the moderator didn’t recognize them until after power.

Players should do their best to yell “someone buzzed” if they see this happening.

Moderators Incorrectly Recognizing Someone: If a moderator has determined that they incorrectly recognized the player who buzzed in and the incorrectly recognized player gave an answer, then the tossup will be thrown out and a replacement read that’s open to both teams.

This also applies to situations where the moderator ambiguously recognizes someone. For instance, consider the case where Team A has a player named Mike A. and Team B has a player named Mike B. On a tossup, Mike A buzzes in slightly before Mike B. The moderator only recognizes “Mike.” Mike B then gives an answer. In this case, the tossup will be thrown out. However, if a player not named Mike gives an answer, that will be considered conferring and ruled incorrect.

Giving Answers on Tossups: Players can either say the answer (after unmuting) or type in their answer. When typing out an answer, players must give the full answer. Typing a shorthand like “hf” when the answer is “Huck Finn” is not acceptable.

Spelling: Exact spelling for typed answers is not required. Any plausible spelling that follows the existing rules around vowels and syllables will be accepted.

Giving Answers on Bonuses: For bonuses, teams can either type their answer using ALL CAPS or by saying the phrase “Our Answer Is [Answer]”. Other answers (such as lower case text or other spoken answers without “our answer is”) will be considered conferring and not a directed answer.

Warning: Some potential answers, like NATO, are naturally typed in all caps. Players should take extra care when conferring that they don’t accidentally type these answers in all caps.

Like in an in-person event, what the moderator accepts is not subject to protest.

Equipment Failure and Technical Difficulties: It’s the responsibility of players to immediately let a moderator know if they cannot hear the question. When this happens, moderators should pause and attempt to resolve the issue. Tossups and bonuses that go through the entire cycle without the moderator being alerted of a technical issue will not be replaced.

Moderators and tournament directors have the discretion to give up trying to solve a technical issue for player(s) who are having repeated issues. See this troubleshooting guide for tips on fixing issues.

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