The Private Citizen, Episode 100: Questions wanted

In the middle of December, I’m planning to record the 100th episode of The Private Citizen. I want to make it a bit of a special episode, along the lines of the one year anniversary special.

I’d love it if I could do a live show along the lines of the LO specials back in the day, but I guess that’s out of the question for now.

I don’t think I want to do a straight AMA this time, but I want the episode to provide some general background on me, my thinking and were my opinions and world view comes from. I think that would benefit people who spend one hundred episodes listen to me ramble on and on.

As I said, I don’t want this to be a straight AMA, but answering a few questions would be nice, I think. So if you have any to ask me (preferably ones that weren’t covered in the one year special), please ask away in this thread!

You have been criticizing fellow journalists for sloppiness in their jobs (rightfully so). I also remember you complaining about the lack of professionalism in general that you experience in everyday life. I have also been noticing the lack of professionalism and sloppiness in people I contact in my everyday life, from bartenders to members of parliament and everywhere in between.

Do you think this marks the beginning of demise of our society and our species as a whole? Are we doomed? Is the world heading for a disaster? Or do you think it’s just our gray hair talking?

Also, what do we do about it? Encouraging people and being an example in diligence only works to a minor extent. How do we make sure my daughter gets to live in a world not much worse compared to the one you and I live in? Do we even have to care? Do we have an obligation to make this world a better place?

You obviously do your part in making the world a better place with your journalism, your blog, the podcast, the novel you’re writing. Anything else? What else can we do — each one individually, and as a community — to facilitate a better future? Are mass shootings absolutely not an option?


I would like to hear more about your time in Australia. Any funny stories or interesting insights about the difference in the two cultures? How did that early experience of a different culture shape your World view.

Also how would you teach a teenager who is being bullied not to care what the bully is saying and not react. I am not sure if there is an answer here because I had the same experience and as much as I can tell my students to only care about comments from people meaningful in their life it never gets through


Excellent input! As always. Thank you!

Good questions! Definitely will get into that. I wanted to talk about how Oz shaped my background anyway.

I could be completely wrong, but I think I remember you saying that your parents were active and slightly left on the political scale growing up. I know you currently identify as possibly right of center, as I also do. So my question would be: how do you think your parents political/social ideologies influenced you growing up?

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I was trying to think of questions, but none came to mind.

And a couple popped up, one might be easy, and the other I’m not sure if it would be possible to talk about.

I started following your activities since Linux Outlaws, as I was interested in Linux as well.

And while you are not of a computer-science/engineering background, but you seem to be comfortable with the technical stuff: so can you talk more about this aspect of you, you seem to be curious to try different stuff (Smalltalk? :wink:)

The second question: you alluded several times about how the general political climate has caused some friendships to break.

I got the sense that this was behind the discontinuation of an older podcast.

For me this is sad, and I would like to know more (sorry for being to curious).

I have the belief that people should be able to discuss their differences and come to some agreement. But probably we all have our examples where it was no longer possible to achieve a common understanding.

This topic fascinates me, and I would love to understand how this happens, and try to find ways to over-come it.

So I’m curious about your experience

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I can answer that on the show, but I can also do so right here and now to clear this up as quickly as possible. This is definitely not the case. I would never end a show like that myself and it hasn’t happened because of others either. The stuff I was referring to (talking about this aspect on the podcast might be the most interesting to a wider audience) all happened because of the pandemic.

Actually, I only ended shows because all hosts agreed that it was the best for the show (like Linux Outlaws), because of organisational problems getting the cast together to record episodes on a regular basis (like Geek News Radio), or because I (or the listenership) lost interest in them or thought the didn’t take off (Hollywood Outlaws, Radio Nowhere).

I am much like you and I would like to understand it. I will elaborate on this more in the episode, but TL;DR in the cases I was referring to, I have no idea. People (who I only know, as with many of my friendships, digitally) just dropped off my radar and didn’t respond to me anymore. So I can only guess at the reasons based on previous interactions, the general situation and what I know of their personality.

It might be a problem endemic to online-only relationships. Although similar things happen IRL, not for the same reasons (at least to me) though. There it’s often people moving away or becoming parents.

Here a question:
How you see the current state of journalism (generally, and tech/infosec journalism specifically)? In the trustworthiness, professionalism, general industry behaviors, etc… apsects.

Also, if you had time machine, what one thing would you say to yourself from 10 years (‘Invest in bitcoin’ not allowed)?

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You mentioned that you have changed you views about certain topics in the past.

If you have some specific topics for which you remember the crucial turning point - whether it was some event that happened, something you discovered, or something you were told - it would be interesting to hear. Such turning points often come with interesting stories, and we might learn something as well from them.
Of course, changes of opinions can come gradually, but even then we sometimes have some moments that were more significant and remember aferwards.