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A moderator or reader is the person who reads the questions and officiates for a quizbowl match. They are provided with a packet of questions either physically or digitally. A moderator is either alone, in which case they keep score on a separate scoresheet, or they are accompanied by a scorekeeper, who keeps score for the match. The moderator also operates the buzzer system.


In general, new moderators will require at least some level of training before they can successfully moderate on their own. Moderators should be familiar with the rules that are being used at the tournament for which they are reading, have some experience with reading quizbowl questions (usually at a team practice or some kind of practice session beforehand), and be willing to respond to feedback. Serving as a scorekeeper may be a good step towards moderating; it is not uncommon to have moderators and scorekeepers who are sufficiently prepared to trade-off for at least one match during a tournament to help give the scorekeeper more experience as a moderator. Tournament directors should make sure that all of their moderators are trained and capable of completing a standard quizbowl round in approximately 30-35 minutes.


Most moderators at events hosted by a school are members of that school's quizbowl team. Many tournaments provide a discount to attending teams who bring along readers who can staff for the duration of the tournament. Some tournaments will provide external (that is, moderators who are not affiliated with a specific team claiming a discount for bringing a moderator) moderators with a small stipend in exchange for their time as well as reimburse the costs of traveling to the tournament. Most will also provide lunch for moderators and sometimes breakfast as well.

In online quizbowl

Moderators play a major role in online tournaments as a reader and sometimes the host for specific Zoom rooms or calls, or in special roles on tournament Discord severs that facilitate the transfer of teams from room to room. In theory, online quizbowl opens the potential pool of moderators for a given event to anyone with a sufficient internet connection and interest.

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