I guess what country , or even what city you live in makes a difference.
I live in New Orleans, if someone approaches you to talk about most anything, camera included, it is usually met with a friendly answer, a smile, and could at any time end up with making a new friend, at least in my experience living here many years....
Of course if you are in a rush or busy, that maybe not happen as with above, but for the majority of the time, if anyone speaks to me when I'm out and about, I'm assuming I'll be having at least a short, pleasant conversation with them...especially if at a bar here.
And heck, are ya'll that worried about someone coming right up to you and stealing your camera off your neck? Again, I live in NOLA, where crime *is* a problem, and frankly, I'm not that concerned about it...I just stay out of the areas where it is a problem, especially at night.
I dunno...just struck me as quite odd to hear so many seem to actually almost take offense at someone bothering to speak to them in public at all. I know in the NE of the US, that people aren't quite as friendly as we are in general in the southern US, but I just figured it was mostly up there, but sounds like this is prevalent in much of the world?
If so...sad. I'm used to walking about, smiling and very often saying something, even if briefly passing a stranger and something bout them catches my eye. Especially if a pretty girl (of course), but even with other men, I'll say hi, or smile or say "Hey..nice xyz"...that just seems common to me.
But I am saddened a bit when I hear so much negativity with simply being outgoing and friendly to those you meet or even just pass by during life.
When someone takes interest in my stuff or what I'm doing, I'm flattered, and have quite often ended up talking about that for at least a short time...