The term clear has two primary uses in quizbowl:
- the status of a question set being "clear for discussion" and thus able to be discussed in public settings like the forums
- an interjection used during gameplay to indicate that the moderator needs to reset ("clear") the buzzer lock-out system
A question set is "cleared for discussion" or clear when its writer or tournament director explicitly allows its questions to be freely discussed and/or circulated. This usually occurs after all relevant mirrors using set have concluded or after the corresponding academic year has ended. Before a set is cleared, any person who has been exposed to the questions should not discuss them on the internet or otherwise disclose questions to people who may play the set in the future.
Despite this, rarely tournaments may still mirror a cleared set even after it is posted online. In this case, players are on an honor system to not look at the packets beforehand. An example of this is the annual Canadian mirror of HSNCT, which relies on players not playing, staffing, spectating, or viewing the discussion forum.
Cleared sets are usually posted to quizbowlpackets.com.
All NAQT question sets used in the year prior are cleared for discussion on July 1st. However, even "clear" NAQT questions may not be directly shared or read to anyone outside of one's own club. In some cases, NAQT allows tournaments to mirror sets from the previous season (usually SSNCT) after July 1st, and tries to prevent players or clubs in the tournament's region from purchasing those questions as practice material.
Players may say "clear" or "reset" during a game to indicate that the buzzer system is mistakenly still locked out, and that the moderator should push a button to reset it. This is not considered illegal communication, even when it takes place at a time when talking would be.