The perception of the London commuter as an unfriendly curmudgeon has been bolstered by the mixed reaction to a mystery campaign to encourage tube passengers to chat.
Badges emblazoned with the question “Tube chat?” have been distributed on the London Underground network, to the horror of some regular users. . . .
Commuters were quick to express their disdain for the idea, for which no individual or group has claimed responsibility. [Emphasis added]
But those who are not especially socially attuned don’t always pick up on the cues that make the distinction between being friendly and being a bother. This comes up in gender discussions a lot because women often both (a) don’t want to be bothered by strangers unless (b) they are the right strangers. And guys have little or no idea whether they are the right stranger or not. When women complain, men often hear that they’re going to get their heads ripped off if they get it wrong. When men complain, women often hear that men just want license to trap women in conversations that it would be rude to escape. It’s not reasonable to expect women to take all comers, nor is it reasonable to expect men to be mindreaders.
As it applies to that, it also applies to just talking to people. Social dolt that I am, I am not good at picking up on the cues.
This put me in mind of an observation I made a while back with regards to PCC, when I concluded:
Less charitably, I speculate that the motivation behind a lot of the animosity that socially adept kinds of people show towards PCC is precisely that they lose a lot of their social status and power when the rules get written down for everybody to learn equally.
Likewise here. I will speculate that "commuters" expressing "distain" is mainly Jamie Grierson's sock puppet, not anything as reality-based as even an informal poll of London Tube riders.