Online Quiz League UK - Rules

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See Also: Disciplinary Committee


  1. The purpose of the Online Quiz League (OQL) is to organise league and other quiz-based competitions to be played using video sharing software by players all around the world.
  2. OQL operates a non-discriminatory policy with respect to age, gender, disability, race or nationality, ethnic origin, creed, colour, social status and sexual orientation.
  3. The league is run by the Commissioner (Jon Stitcher) who has full and final say on all league matters. The Commissioner is supported by a committee of people involved in the organisation of the league. They advise on all league matter and the Commissioner will usually consult with them on all important matters.
  4. The Committee will be composed of people chosen by the Commissioner.
  5. The Commissioner shall have the power to arrange and settle all matters relating to the Leagues.
  6. League matches must be played on a Wednesday night and commence promptly at 8pm and played using video sharing software.
  7. To initiate a playing season, the Commissioner will set a Final Registration Date for that season, and all teams must by that date submit:
    1. A fully completed Registration Form (or online registration)
    2. A remittance to the OQL Paypal account or bank account to cover the main entrance fee as set by the Commissioner
  8. Specific rules concerning player eligibility are as follows:
    1. No player may play for more than one team in any season without first obtaining the permission of the Committee. The Committee will generally only grant such requests in exceptional circumstances and at their absolute discretion.
    2. Any player wishing to play in the Handicap Cup/Plate competition must have played in at least 3 matches for the side they wish to play for during the league season.
    3. There are to be no exceptions to rule 8.2.
    4. If it is discovered that an ineligible player has played in a cup or league match, the offending team will forfeit the match and the result be awarded to the non-offending team.
  9. The OQL Commissioner shall fix a playing season of 11 weeks for the league season plus 5 further weeks for a cup competition. The commissioner may extend or reduce these depending on the number of registered teams.
  10. OQL Commissioner has the discretion to amend the playing rules for competitions in order to best accommodate the number of teams entering.


  1. Sets of questions will be provided by the Commissioner and only these shall be used in league matches. Sets will be prepared by designated question setters who will each write between 1 and 4 sets per season. Every set is vetted for accuracy, balance and ambiguity be the rest of the question setting team.
  2. Questions will be uploaded to the OQL website precisely 15 minutes before the commencement of the matches. Each team captain will be able to access their half of the password via the “MyPage” section of the website. Each half must be entered to access the questions.  Care should be taken to ensure that a half password is provided to the Question Master/Mistress (QM) by private message within the chat rather than read out. The QM can choose whether to read the questions from a device such as a laptop or tablet or to print out the questions and read them from a hard copy.
  3. Teams shall consist of not more than four players; If a team is missing a player then the questions that would have gone to that player go straight to the team but for a bonus point only. Players will take their seat position at the commencement of the match and this order is not to change during the match. The home team shall be responsible for ensuring that the roles of Question Person and Scorer are provided for each match, however it is expected that should a home team be short of either and the away team is in a position to provide a match official then they should do so. Teams should liaise by email to arrange this.
  4. Prior to the commencement of the match there will be a virtual coin toss using the online scoring tool. The away captain will call the toss and the winning team will decide the order of the questions.
  5. The winning team will receive 4 league table points, in the event of a draw each team shall receive 2 points. The losing team will receive 0 points, unless they lose the match by 4 points or fewer and then they shall receive 1 point.
  6. All league matches should start at 8.00 pm on Wednesday evenings with an allowance of 15 minutes for late players to arrive . Should matches be delayed by more than the allowance then the opposing team has the right to insist the match commence (and to claim the match if none of the members of the first team are present).
    1. Should an expected player still not have arrived by 8:15pm then the match should commence without them or with a replacement. If a replacement is used and the late player then shows up the late player cannot join the match.
    2. If the team commence the match with an empty seat and a late player arrives then the late player can join in the game at the end of the round in which they joined the Zoom. Should the late player arrive after the end of Round 4 then they cannot join the match.
  7. All matches are to be played using a video sharing application such as Zoom. It is highly recommended that all teams use Zoom and if any team wish to use a different platform for their home matches this can only be done with express permission of the commissioner.
  8. Specific rules for use of video sharing software are as follows:
    1. During the match, all players and officals (other than the scorer, if separate from the QM) are to be visible on the application so that they can be seen by all players. Other than where technical issues arise no player may go off screen for any reason during a match and if they do they will not be permitted to take any further part in the match unless the opposition expressly permit this. The only exception to this is if the Zoom call needs to be restarted due to time restrictions. If this happens the match shall be restarted as soon as possible and no player is to research anything during this slight delay. If a player disconnects from the video call for longer than 60 then they shall be unable to take any further part in the match.
    2. Should a player have technical issues with Zoom AFTER a match has commenced, that player has 60 seconds to fix the issue or they will not be able to play any further part in that round. If the opposition agree the player is given further time to reconnect but at any point the opposition can impose a 60 second time limit. If the player has not resolved the issues within those 60 seconds then they are officially timed out of the round and can play no further part in that round. If a player has tech issues on three separate occasions during a match the opposition player have the right to request that that player is no longer permitted to participate at all in the match.
    3. All players must have both hands in view at all times unless a player has a valid reason (e.g. health) why they cannot do this which they have agreed with the Commissioner in advance.
    4. All players must look at or near the camera at all times.
    5. Players must not use the mute function during matches, and should therefore give thought before to whether the room in which they are playing is suitably quiet and free of background noise. If exceptional circumstances during a match require brief use of the mute function this must be explained and agreed with the opposition.
    6. If any player has a disability or condition which may make any of the above rules difficult to comply with, they should contact OQL expressing their concerns and OQL will do everything they can to accommodate the player. Likewise, if any player has a disability or condition which may make any aspect of OQL difficult for them then they should contact the Committee to discuss ways that they can be accommodated.
    7. A team are welcome to request that the reader pastes the questions into the Zoom chat during a game. This request should be made as soon as possible and it is expected that all teams try to accommodate this request where possible. There is no obligation on any team to paste the questions during a match, however, please consider that if you refuse you may be seriously inconveniencing your opposition as many teams in OQL UK do not have English as a first language.
  9. Specific rules related to behaviour
    1. Players are not to use any resources to try and answer questions including but not limited to: search engines; reference books; other people, whether or not competing in the match.
    2. If a player is accused of engaging in any of the activities prohibited, or attempting to gain an unfair advantage in any other manner, then the OQL committee will make a full and thorough investigation of the allegations including, reviewing any video evidence, discussing with participants in the match and considering any explanation of the accused player's conduct. If the Committee determines that, on the balance of probabilities, the allegations are upheld, it will impose the sanctions appropriate at its absolute discretion. These may include forfeiture of the match or matches concerned and a suspension or ban (including in extreme circumstance a lifetime band for the player concerned. The Committee will consider a variety of factors when deciding on said sanction.
    3. Where possible the Committee will keep all allegations of cheating completely confidential and will not disclose the results of any investigation unless they feel it is in the best interests of the OQL community.
  10. Answering;
    1. A player should commence to answer their own question within 15 seconds of the completion of the question. If they do so correctly, TWO points are awarded.
      1. If teams are playing using the 'free guess rule' (played in all divisions except Division 1) then, if a wrong answer is given, or the question is unanswered, the question is passed to a different member of their own team who has five seconds to answer. If the second attempt is correct ONE point is awarded. If still incorrect or unanswered within the time limit, the question is passed to the opposition. A player has a further five seconds to answer correctly for ONE bonus point. A player cannot have a second guess at their own question, however, if they fail to give any answer within 15 seconds they are permitted to answer in the following 5 seconds but for ONE point only.
      2. For matches which do not use the 'free guess rule' a player shall be awarded TWO points for answering their own question but if they answer incorrectly it is immediately passed over to the opposition where any player has a further five seconds to answer correctly for ONE point. If they do not answer within 15 seconds, or defer to a teammate, the teammate may answer and if correct will be awarded ONE point.
      3. If the original players answers within those further five seconds, but outside the original fifteen seconds, the original player will be given ONE point.
    2. If clarification is requested by any player, the clock should be stopped and restarted after such has been given. The QM needs to be considerate of any clear connectivity problems and use their discretion to allow longer to answer or repeat a question if a player has clearly been unable to hear the question. A player can only ask for clarification or repeats when their team is in control of the question. Asking for repeats should not be done in an attempt to gain more time to think about an answer and a QM should be wary of any player employing these tactics. A QM, in their sole discretion, may refuse repeats if they feel a team are trying to exploit this rule.
    3. Should two or more players answer, the QM will allot points (or otherwise) on the first answer heard.
    4. If no points are awarded to the original person asked, the question must be passed, even where the original reply being close to the correct answer. If the initial answer is partially correct the QM should use the word 'prompt' to inform the player that further information is to be given. A player can be prompted more than once but as soon as any incorrect information is offered then the question shall be passed.
    5. Teams may request additional time to answer questions due to disabilities. This request must be made to the Committee who will consider all requests and make a ruling.
  11. No conferring of any kind (whether spoken or any kind of signalling) between  teammates is permitted. The only communications between players permitted as part of a game are that players may signal their level of confidence on a question being asked to another player either by clear hand signalling or stating their confidence orally and a team captain may nominate a team member to answer by stating that player's name. Should any player confer or attempt to confer in any other matter, the QM shall treat any answer received as incorrect and then proceed to pass the question to the non-offending team.
  12. Should any non-player confer or attempt to confer, the QM shall cancel the questions, ask a replacement question and eject the offending non-player from the game. It is the duty of team captains to ensure that team supporters or squad members do not confer or attempt to confer in any way.
  13. The score sheet must bear the names of all eight players and be witnessed and verbally confirmed by both Captains and the Question Person within 10 minutes of the completion of the game. The home captain is responsible for the full electronic copy of the score sheet being submitted via the website immediately upon conclusion of the quiz. If there is a malfunction with the scorer tool then the team captains shall endeavour to recreate the score sheet as accurately as possible.
  14. Following the completion of the match, teams may, at their discretion play a friendly match(es). If either team does NOT wish to play a friendly then a friendly will not take place but it is expected that teams will be courteous and alert their opposition, in advance, that they do not want to partake of a friendly.
  15. OQL provides an official friendly for each week which is uploaded to the website at 20:30. The League will appoint a Friendlies Editor to commission and review friendlies provided for this purpose by volunteers from among league members. Teams are welcome to play additional friendlies sourced from a place of their choosing.
  16. Disputes;
    1. If either team feels that an answer in the question set, or the QM's ruling, is incorrect so that points were wrongly awarded (or not awarded), they must say so immediately or at least before the start of the next round. The QM should then invite the two captains to agree how points should be awarded if possible, if necessary by consulting a reliable internet source to check the relevant factual point.. If both captains are satisfied that a mistake has been made (or not been made) then the point(s)should be re-awarded )or allowed to stand) there and then.. If teams cannot agree, the QM must note a possible protest.
    2. If, at the end of the game, the result turns out to depend on the disputed point(s) and it is decided to proceed with the protest, the captain of the protesting team must still submit the result and then contact the league to alert them of the protest. This should be arranged by an email directly to the commissioner at [[1]] within 24 hours of the game, copied to the other team, who may, if they wish, make their own submission within a further 24 hours (copied to the protesting team.)
    3. It is recognised that on occasion the grounds for a protest may not have been raised immediately after the question or before the start of the next round, for example, if an error comes to light in post-match discussion. This does not preclude the two captains agreeing how to handle the error, or failing that a protest being raised, although it is likely to mean it becomes much more difficult to determine what the fair thing to do is. All protests must be raised to the Committee within 24 hours of the conclusion of the match.
    4. Protests will be heard by a three person panel drawn from the Committee whose decisions shall be FINAL.
  17. Rules pertaining to using Spare Questions
    1. Should the players feel that there is an error in the question which makes it unanswerable, for example, “which country will host the 2024 Fifa Men's Football World Cup?” (there is no World Cup in 2024) then the QM should rule that question dead and ask a spare.
    2. If the players feel there is an error in the answer that can not be resolved through the use of internet searches and the Captains cannot agree on a ruling then the question should be ruled dead and a spare used.
    3. If there is a typing error or a spelling error which changes the meaning of a word, for example, “Chemical Welfare” rather than “Chemical Warfare” and this causes a player to give an incorrect answer when they believe they would have correctly answered it then the Captains shall discuss what to do. If they agree to award points or not award points then that shall happen, if they cannot agree then the question shall be ruled dead and a spare used.
    4. If there are any factual errors within a question which causes a player to give an incorrect answer when they believe they would have correctly answered it then the Captains shall discuss what to do. If they agree to award points or not award points then that shall happen, if they cannot agree then the question shall be ruled dead and a spare used.
    5. In all other circumstances where one team feels there is any kind of error within a question and the said error leads to a player answering incorrectly on a question they believe they would have got right, and where that error cannot be resolved through internet searches, and the team Captains cannot agree on how to award the points then the question shall be ruled dead and a spare used.
    6. If the QM accidentally gives the answer before all attempts to answer the question have been allowed, (for example, before passing over to the opposition) then a spare question shall be used but only offered to the stage where those players had not yet had their chance to answer. So, in the above example the spare would only be asked to the 2nd team and for 1 point only.
    7. If the QM accidentally reveals the answer to the question when reading then the question shall be ruled dead and a spare used.
    8. A minimum of 3 spares are provided for every quiz. Should a spare be required then the person who was asked the question for 2 shall select a number from 1 to n, where n is the amount of spares, and that numbered spare shall be read out. In the highly unlikely event that all the spares are exhausted in one game and a further spare is required then the Captains will have to agree between them as to whether an answer should be accepted. On any occasion when a spare question is required it should be reported to the league, including the numbered spare used and the question for which it was used.
  18. Any tie at the end of each season for the first or second place in a League shall be settled by total points scored followed by total points difference followed by the result in the match between the two teams. If there is still no separating the teams then the team with the most 2 point answers across the season shall be the deciding factor followed by the toss of a coin.
  19. In all knockout competitions, ONE extra round shall be played if the game results in a tie after 8 rounds. If the game is still tied after 9 rounds, a Tie Break question shall be asked. The questions in these rounds shall be drawn from the same broad subject categories used in the rest of the game. The order of answering will change after Round 8 .
  20. In all knockout competitions the free guess rules is to be used. However, if both teams agree to play without free guess then this is allowed. Should either team wish to play using the free guess rule then it will be used. No team should ever try to put undue pressure on an opponent to play without free guess.
  21. Either Captain has the right to be told the score before a question is asked during the last round.
  22. Teams who fail to turn up for League games will immediately forfeit the match. A team who misses two matches in one season without a good reason may not be permitted to return for the following season.
  23. Should a team forfeit their match through non-attendance then the non-offending team will be awarded the win and the 4 league points. The match will be scored based on the average winning score and average losing score for that week's matches in that division. Under no circumstances can a forfeiting team receive a close loss bonus point.


  1. Any published matters, including press, radio, and social media, concerning quiz teams and individual members must not contain any comment or statement capable of causing offence or embarrassment. Questions must not be discussed on social media until the results for that evening's matches have been published on both the website AND the OQL Facebook page. OQL has the right to impose appropriate sanctions on teams or individuals who contravene these rules.
  2. The OQL Commissioner will publish competition rules for all competitions promoted directly by the OQL.


  1. OQL attaches the highest importance to its matches being played in a convivial, inclusive and friendly manner. All OQL players and match officials are expected to conduct themselves accordingly. This principle extends to all other OQL events, informal gatherings of OQL players, and any other context where the reputation of OQL might be affected. One might summarise this principle as simply "treat other people with courtesy and respect at all times".
  2. The OQL committee will be concerned about any breaches of this principle, and will take an especially dim view of behaviour or language that is (or could be construed as) sexist, racist or homophobic, or as bullying. A serious breach of this principle, or a pattern of repeated breaches over time, may lead the Committee to invoke existing OQL disciplinary procedures. The Committee will note all breaches that it hears about, whether formally or informally, and may take these into account should the issue of sanctions arise.


Do not attempt to cheat. Anyone caught cheating will receive sanctions and could be banned from the league for life and their team may forfeit matches in which they had played that season. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Using Google or any other resource to try to look up answers during the quiz. If a team suspect anyone of doing this they may ask all players to keep all hands in view at all times. Any player refusing will not be able to continue in the match.
  2. Attempting to access the questions prior to or during the match. No player is to give any information about any questions away until after the game week has concluded. If any player asks you for information before they have played their game you must report the conversation to the league immediately. The passwords to the quiz should be messaged privately to the Reader to reduce the risk of intercept.
  3. Asking your Reader to make harsh rulings on your opponent's questions but be lenient on yours. All Readers must act with full impartiality at all times.


OQL is an inclusive environment. All players will show each other respect and any allegations of sexism, racism or any other form of discriminative behaviour will result in sanctions. Behave in the following manner:

  1. Always be courteous and respectful to your opponents
  2. Congratulate your opponents and teammates on a good answer, commiserate them on a near miss.
  3. When a question is being read out all players should remain silent.
  4. Always wait until it is clear that the reader has finished reading the full question before providing an answer.
  5. If asking for a repeat, only do so when the question is offered to your side.
  6. We all enjoy discussing questions and how we knew the answer but try to keep this to a minimum during matches to avoid disrupting the game. The league is a social event but be considerate.
  7. In the case of a dispute or a contentious decision please act calmly and discuss with your opponents.
  8. Arrive promptly for your game. Being late is selfish. If you know that you will be late, make sure someone knows.
  9. At the end of the game teams may play a friendly match. If you don't intend to play a friendly let your opponents know in advance so that people can make plans for the rest of their evening.
  10. Respect the match officials.


During matches there are certain behaviours that are compulsory and others that are to be followed where possible. Mandatory behaviours are as follows:

  1. All players participating in a match must have their webcam on at all times. If your video is not working, you cannot play without the express permission of your opponents.
  2. Your Zoom name should be your team, your team name (or shortened version) and your seat number. For example Jon Stitcher OQLUK Seat 4.
  3. Your signalling should be clear with hand signals. Oral communication is allowed but only to the extent of generic statements such as 'I'm 80% sure on this'. When signalling certainly you should never make comments such as 'I know it's either North or South Dakota' as this may be helping others.
  4. Similar to the above, do not prompt your teammates with answer information in any way.
  5. Keep all background noise to a minimum. If anyone else is in the room with you or watching the match they should be silent at all times.
  6. Ensure that you are in a safe environment to play. Players should not be operating heavy machinery or undertaking potentially hazardous tasks whilst playing matches. Any player who is found to be driving a motor vehicle whilst playing OQL will have their team immediately forfeit the match and said player may receive further sanctions.

The following behaviours are best practice but we appreciate in certain circumstances they may not be possible.

  1. Keep your hands in view of the camera at all times. This is to assist people in seeing your signalling and ensures that you cannot be googling.
  2. Do not put your microphone on mute unless there is a good reason for it such as a continuous echo or sustained background noise.


Once the match is completed the following should be completed

  1. The reader/scorer should show the completed score sheet to both teams by way of sharing the screen. Both team captains should confirm that they agree with the final score of the match and the individual totals.
  2. The reader will then confirm the match result. At this point no changes to the scoresheet will occur unless there is a formal protest.
  3. If protesting the result, this must be noted on the score sheet and full details sent to the league with 24 hours of the match's completion. We expect this to be rare.
  4. At the end of the match both teams should act appropriately. Be a gracious winner and a respectful loser.
  5. Do not discuss questions with anyone until advised that all matches for that game week have been completed.


During the season you may wish to add players to your squad. You may do this, subject to the following rules.

  1. All players can only play for one team each league season. If you play an ineligible player then their points will be removed from that match.
  2. Players can be added to your squad using an online tool. If you add a player whose name is already in the database you will be asked to confirm that they are not the same person and are therefore eligible to play for you. We expect this to be rare.
  3. For a player to play in a cup competition they must have played a minimum of 3 league matches. There will be no exceptions to this rule.