Good quizbowl is the umbrella term for two different schools of quizbowl thought, both of which have prominent proponents in the college and (to a lesser extent) high school games. Neither school is viewed as more "correct" than the other, being seen as more of a stylistic choice, and they mainly differ over cosmetic issues such as tossup length. Most quizbowl players, even those who primarily champion one view, recognize that the two philosophies are somewhat interdependent and hold opinions somewhere between the two extremes.
Game-oriented good quizbowl
The central dogma of game-oriented good quizbowl states that the primary purpose of each game is to fairly differentiate which of the two opposing teams is better.
Learning-oriented good quizbowl
The central dogma of learning-oriented good quizbowl states that quizbowl should be primarily a meditative, cerebral experience that allows players to learn, both in breadth and in depth, about subjects which one may have some or no familiarity by reading, writing, and playing questions.
Aspects of good quizbowl
Both the game-oriented and learning-oriented schools of quizbowl thought maintain that good quizbowl contains the following:
- Questions that primarily reward knowledge of a topic over speed, as exemplified by tossups that contain many clues arranged in rough order from most obscure to least obscure (usually denoted by the term pyramidality) and bonuses that contain "easy", "medium", and "hard" parts.
- Tossups and bonus parts that ask uniquely about one desired answer or (in the case of multiple-answer bonus parts or "name's the same" tossups) set of answers.
- Clues that are interesting, informative, and point directly to the desired answer.
- A range of topics from subjects people should and do know much about to subjects that are not as well-known but nevertheless important (the collective set of these subjects is called the canon).
- A distribution of questions that primarily emphasizes the academic nature of quizbowl and eschews spelling, "excess" general knowledge or trash, and other "fluff".