It's the phenomenon that has appalled the capital – now City A.M. can exclusively reveal the motive behind #Tube_chat.
NHS worker Jonathan Dunne is the man behind the badges encouraging Tube commuters to perform a decidedly un-Londonish act, and actually talk to each other.
It won't surprise many to learn that Dunne is originally from the US – but has lived in the capital since 1996.
Speaking to City A.M., Dunne said he had handed out the first 480 badges at Old Street Station yesterday.
"I thought it was going to be a laugh, but it was actually miserable," he confessed.
"I've never handed out anything at a Tube station before. You run the gauntlet of people panhandling, people handing out flyers, or whatever.
"Most people aren't interested. Some people take things to be nice."
But he said that despite the strength of the reaction on social media, there had been some positive sentiment.
"I would say of the 480 [badges] I handed out, maybe 30 or 40 people smiled," he added.
Perhaps those affronted by the campaign should give him a break, though: Dunne added that rather than forcing Londoners to break the wall of silence that greets commuters on the Tube, the point of the badges is to create an experience for willing participants.
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"The idea is you opt in – if you want to be involved, you can be involved," he said.
"Living in London is an isolated life experience. People have lots of barriers."
The good news for the few who do want to opt in is that Dunne is planning to hand out 500 more badges.
"I don't think I'm going to hand them out near a station," he said. "I think I'll find a different venue."