Debacle Timeline

Cataloguing the Catastrophe

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are you?

Someone who thought the controversy around Penny Arcade and the dickwolves was interesting and complex enough that a timeline of events might be helpful in fully understanding it.

No, seriously.  I need to know your a/s/l and place of employment so I can better understand your motives in making this timeline.

As we’ve already seen, people abuse that kind of information very badly.  If you feel you can’t trust the links in the Debacle Timeline because of my anonymity, I fully accept that.

Why did you create this timeline?

I watched the dickwolf controversy explode on the internet, and I saw people talking right past each other, citing events that never happened, or that didn’t happen in the order they were saying they did.  I found myself having to go back and verify stuff even just to get my head around the basics.  I felt that if I was going to have an opinion on the matter, I wanted to have my facts straight and a list of resources to cite. 

I was surprised people noticed the timeline, and especially so when @cwgabriel tweeted about it.

How much time has it taken to create and maintain this timeline?

It took about an hour to get the basics together, and it takes a few stray minutes here and there to read and add in new links people send me.  That’s it. 

Oh, I guess it did take me about ten minutes to scroll all the way back to September, 2010 in @wilw’s Twitter feed to verify that he’d really posted a picture of a “Don’t be a Dickwolf” shirt.

Why aren’t you timelining something more important, like [insert major news item here]?

When I started this timeline, I got a lot of “Why aren’t you timelining the revolution in Egypt instead of wasting your time on this?  Get a life!” 

Simply put, Egypt was way the hell out of my league.  In addition, there were thousands of real reporters on the ground doing a great job of chronicling Egypt’s woes. 

The dickwolf thing is a relatively compact point of internet fury that I chose to try to untangle because it had some complexity and I was curious about it.

How do you decide which links to add?

I add the vast majority of the links I’m sent.  The others are omitted for varying reasons. So far, I’ve omitted links to posts that were:

  • advertisements
  • shock porn
  • stuff I’ve linked to already
  • by authors I’ve linked to already, who are re-summarizing their own earlier thoughts with little or no new content—readers can find their way to these new posts from existing timeline links anyway
  • content not directly related to Penny Arcade and the dickwolf controversy, including to charities.  (Sorry.  I love charities, but I don’t want to advocate specific charities in this particular space.)
  • based upon wild rumors I couldn’t even begin to verify
  • 404 pages and other incorrect links, where I couldn’t determine the correct ones

I’ve also had a few people contact me with messages along the lines of, “I don’t have a link to this, but your timeline is incomplete without X.”  I will go and search for these in good faith.  However, if you can’t find the link, and I can’t find the link, it’s not going in the timeline no matter how sure you were that you saw it.

    You’ve misunderstood/mischaracterized an event or article.  Will you fix it?

    Sure.  If you’re the author or subject of a link or image I’ve posted in the timeline, and you feel I’ve gotten something about you or your writing wrong, give me a holler in via the “Ask me anything” link. Thanks in advance for giving me feedback.

    If, however, you feel I’m not supportive enough of your side of this issue, there’s not much I can do for you.  I’m not here to support anyone.  I’m just listing links.  Click on them and make your own evaluations like most everyone else seems to be doing—that is the very point.  Or don’t.  That’s cool, too.  I’ve now been accused by members of all sides of being biased in favor of their opposition, and that makes me feel like I’m doing something right.

    The bit about Mike’s music was a cheap shot.

    I do see how it could come across that way, especially if one erroneously assumes that in creating this timeline, I was trying to provide an authoritative resource on dickwolves for the whole world, not just myself. 

    Two things inspired me to mention the songs in the timeline.  The first was that folks on Twitter were commenting about the significance (or lack thereof) of the song selection, and that was how I knew to check in on his UStream in the first place.  The second was that in letting those songs play, or in not noticing they might have significance to his opponents, Mike was essentially showing that he was going to keep to his routine in the face of all this furor.

    Now, how you view that is a matter of opinion. 

    You, the reader, can view it as an act of insensitivity, not to say “Oh, maybe we should play this song another time when people are less likely to misconstrue it, let’s move along to ‘The Gambler.’” 

    You can view it as a brave statement in the face of adversity—“I’m going to play what I want.  If you don’t like it, get the hell off my UStream.” 

    You can chalk it up to an artist being focused on drawing, and his iTunes being on shuffle, and the idea that one should have to vet every song for provenance and lyrics being absurd.

    Me, I don’t live in Mike Krahulik’s head.  If forced to pick one of the above options as being most likely, I’d pick the third.  If the presence of the music selection and Mike’s tweet about it in the timeline suggested I felt otherwise, it was unintentional. 

    I’ve considered removing it, but since a lot of people have now blogged about it, removal now seems like a cheap shot, too.