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Londoners ridicule badge for Tube chat

WHEN American Jonathan Dunne began handing out badges encouraging travelers on the London Underground to talk to each other, he had no idea how controversial challenging the unwritten “no conversation” rule would be.

Just as in many big cities, refusing to make eye contact, let alone exchange chit-chat with fellow travelers, is considered sacrosanct, the result largely of a desire to avoid potential weirdos. Wry glances are exchanged at delays or outlandish behavior, but for many in the British capital, staying silent is as important as standing on the right on escalators.