Pop Culture Challenge - Rules

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See Also: Disciplinary Committee

The OQL Pop Culture Challenge uses the Mimir quiz format (named after Mímir, a Norse god renowned for his knowledge and wisdom). Matches are played between four players, with their respective positions (in seats 1 to 4) drawn at random.

Game play

The quiz will take place in a Zoom room created by your quizmaster (QM).  Each week, you will be drawn in a match with 3 other players. You will compete against each other over 5 rounds of questions, in each of which all four players will each be asked 3 questions.

Players score 1 point for each one of their own questions they answer correctly. Players have a maximum of 30 seconds to answer their own questions. Any of the four players may ask for a repeat of the question so long as this is done prior to the original player offering an answer or passing; players may pass their own questions as early as they like after the original reading has been finished, and opponents will not be allowed to ask for repeats once the original player has passed.  A player may not pass during the original reading of the question or during a repeat but may pass immediately once a repeat has finished.  By a repeat this can mean a player asking for all of or part of the question to be repeated.

Any question that a player fails to convert, either by answering incorrectly or passing, will be opened up to the other players for a bonus point.

When players are offered a chance to answer an opponent’s unconverted question, the player may choose to attempt an answer or pass.  If choosing to attempt an answer, the player must answer immediately that his or her name is called; any hesitation of more than 1 second will be taken to be a pass.

There are strict rules in determining the order in which players may attempt an answer to an opponent’s unconverted question. All players begin, naturally, with zero ‘bonus attempts’ and each time a player attempts to answer to an opponent’s unconverted question (rather than passing) that player accumulates a further ‘bonus attempt’.  The player who has the fewest bonus attempts gets the first chance at answering an opponent’s unconverted question.

If two or more players have accumulated the same number of bonus attempts, the question will be asked first to whichever of those players is seated in the next seat along from the player who failed to convert the original question.  The next seat along from player 2 is, for example, player 3, then player 4, then player 1. If players 1 and 3 have each accumulated one bonus attempt and player 4 has accumulated two bonus attempts, then Player 2’s unconverted question will first be asked to Player 3, then to Player 1, and finally to Player 4.

It is important to note that bonus attempts are accumulated when a player attempts an answer to an opponent’s unconverted question, regardless of whether his or her answer is correct or not. Bonus attempts are not accumulated by passing when an opponent’s question is offered, and neither are they accumulated when a player attempts to answer his or her own questions.

At the end of 5 rounds, the quiz is over and the player with the most points is declared the winner. In the event of a tie for 1st place then the tied players will answer the same 3 tiebreak questions (in separate break-out rooms) to try and split the tie. If still level, a further 3 questions are asked, and if they players can still not be separated then a nearest the bull question will be used to break the tie. If there is a tie for 2nd or 3rd places then the players will not engage in a tiebreak; instead, those players will share the available points.


Each quiz consists of 60 questions, consisted of 15 ‘quads’.  A quad is a series of four questions of similar difficulty on a related topic. Each player will be asked one question from each of the 15 quads.  So if you were to be asked a question on The FA Premier League then you can expect all 3 of your opponents to each get a question on The FA Premier League. Likewise, if one of your opponents is asked a question on the movies of Adam Sandler, then you can be reasonably sure that you will also be getting a question on the movies of Adam Sandler later in the quiz.

League structure

The winner of each match receives 4 league points. The player who finishes in 2nd place receives 3 league points, the player in 3rd place 2 points, and the player in 4th place gets 1 point. Players who finish in joint 2nd or joint 3rd in the league stage will share the available points.

If a player misses one of their games during the first six weeks, they will be awarded, for that match, 1 point. If a player misses a 2nd game (except in exceptional circumstances) that player will be disqualified from the knockout stages.

After 6 weeks of matches, players will be ranked in to groups of 16. The top 16 players will play for the Tier 1 title, the next 16 for the Tier 2 title, and so on. From this point on, the matches will be knock outs, with the top 2 players progressing to the next round, until we get to the final of each Tier; the winners of these finals will be awarded the Tier title.

If players are tied in the league table, they will be separated in the following manner

Firstly, most own questions answered correctly

Secondly, most all questions answered correctly

Thirdly, least bonus attempts

Fourth, most games won

Organising matches

Draws will take place usually at 8pm Sunday BST (this may be different week 1). Players will be informed of their opponents on Sunday evenings and will need to organise their match for some time prior to 8pm BST the following Sunday (games can be played Sunday). Players should be as flexible as possible to try to ensure that a suitable time can be found for all players.

If a player has not responded to the initial fixture email within 36 hours of it being sent then the other three players are free to schedule the match without the non-responsive player. Should that player then get in touch to say they cannot make the agreed time the other players are under no obligation to reschedule the match.

Players will then request a QM via the website. Once someone has agreed to read, the QM will need to arrange a Zoom call for the match to be played. A scoring tool will be used by the QM which will automatically submit the results to the administration team. Please check that these scores are correct. If you have played your match that week then you are free to read any games for the rest of the week.  Reading a match will see you receive a £2.50 credit, which can be redeemed against any future OQL fees. This credit is not capped, so if you read often enough you could find yourself quizzing for life for free with OQL!


Pasting should be used if requested.  Pasting will occur immediately prior to the question being read, with reading starting as soon as the pasting has occurred. All players playing in matches in which questions are being pasted may read the questions in the Zoom chat should they wish to do so; however, players must not repeatedly use their mouse or keyboard during questions, and so players wishing to take advantage of pasted questions must leave the Zoom chat open for the entirety of the match, rather than opening and closing it.

For a match containing four native English speakers, pasting will be available via request. If you would like every question to be pasted, please make the QM aware of this before the match begins. If any player requests pasting after a question has been read, this is allowed, but the timer will begin when the QM reads the last word of the question.

Once the first player has passed the question, players will not be able to request pasting for the bonuses.


All questions will include valid alternative answers.

QMs will have sole discretion on whether to accept an answer that is close to the correct answer. QMs should reward clear knowledge; if it is apparent that a player knows an answer but has pronounced it slightly incorrectly or, perhaps, missed out a word which does not fundamentally change the answer, then it should be accepted. For example, a player answering "The Old Man Of The Sea" should be adjudicated to have given a correct answer even though the book title is, to be exact, “The Old Man And The Sea".

If any player feels that the QM has made an incorrect ruling then the players should attempt to resolve this at the time as it becomes very difficult to resolve these after the match. If the players cannot agree then they can try to contact a member of the organising committee to seek a ruling. If no one is available and the players cannot agree then the match should play out under the QMs ruling and the players should email info@onlinequizleague.com with the facts and the OQL Committee will review the appeal.

Appeals will only be considered when it is a clear and obvious error as one alteration to the bonus queue will affect the order for the remainder of the match. Because of this, players are encouraged to resolve issues during the match.

Technical Issues

If a player unexpectedly loses connection during a question, that question will proceed as normal.  Once that question has finished, the QM will wait a maximum of two minutes for the affected player to reconnect before restarting the game.  


If a player has not arrived by the designated start time, the QM is instructed to wait 10 minutes before starting the match; that can be extended to 15 minutes with the agreement of the other players (but there is no expectation that players should agree to this if it is inconvenient).  Once a game has started, the missing player may not join and will be considered absent from that match.  Should a player be struggling to make an arranged time, they can arrange for the match to be played at another time if the other players can agree on a new time.  If the players cannot agree a new time, then the game will go on as originally arranged.

If a match is played with only three players the following specific rules pertaining to bonuses will apply.

The game will progress as normal, when it becomes time for the empty seat to be asked a question the reader will say who is first in the bonus line and then read the question. The player who is first in line then has up to 15 seconds to answer or pass. Should they answer it will count as a bonus attempt whether it is correct or incorrect. If they take the full 15 seconds of thinking time and then pass or are incorrect then the next players in line will only have 3 seconds to answer or pass. Should the player answer incorrectly or pass prior to the full 15 seconds thinking time elapsing then the next player will have the remainder of those 15 seconds plus their own 3 seconds in which to answer. If they also pass or answer incorrectly prior to the 15 seconds elapsing then the third player in line will have the remainder of those 15 seconds plus their own 3 seconds to answer.

Players will still be awarded 4,3 and 2 points for their finish position, plus the player who didn't play will receive 1 point. Total score and bonus attempts will be scaled down by a factor of 0.75 to account for the additional bonus attempts and points scored due to the absence of a player. Should two players be missing these will be scaled down by a factor of 0.5 and two two absentees will each score 1 league points. In the unlikely event that after factoring in the adjustment for missing player(s), a player's total score would be lower than their total own gets then they will be credited with their own gets as their total score.


Players should not use any outside resources, such as Google or friends, to help them during the quiz (seriously don’t, it’s obvious to everyone when players are cheating, and it impresses no one). If anyone is found to be cheating, they will be removed from the competition.

Players should keep both hands in view at all times while questions are live and should allow them to fall off screen only for very short periods, such as to pick up a cup while the questions are not live. The easiest way to ensure compliance is to sit a little further back from the screen or to rest hands on the chin. QMs will be asked to ensure this rule is being followed, and please do not be offended if your fellow players remind you of the need to comply.

If players are taking notes during a game they should make the QM aware of this fact before the game and both the notepad and pen must be entirely visible to the QM during play.

The OQL reserves the right to exclude from the competition any players who are thought to be intentionally breaking the rules.