Hmmm. Hmmm? Hmmm! Allow us to introduce you to r/hmmm, a popular online community on Reddit that boasts over 1.8 million members, who call themselves internet aesthetes, and search the world wide web for artistic, meaningful, odd, and obscure photos. ‘Hmmm’ (technically written with a lowercase ‘h’) is the sound of deep thinking as you contemplate the weirdness of out-of-context internet pics. And we’ve collected some of the most bizarre ones to share with you, Pandas.

They’re stranger than strange, some to the point of hilarity, and they’ll likely make you go ‘hmmm’ as you look at them, trying to guess the story behind the elaborate images. It’s time to put your imaginations into overdrive, so get ready to have a good laugh and put your minds to use.

Bored Panda reached out to the team behind the r/hmmm subreddit. The head moderator, CosmicKeys, was happy to shed some light on the community and what it stands for. "The idea for /r/hmmm was to create a highly curated subreddit with a quality bar where all the pictures are interesting, meaningful, aesthetic, and shine a light on how random image culture on the internet had become its own genre of art. I think we are popular because we maintain this quality bar," they told me that high quality and a focus on aesthetics are both vital to the long-term success of the subreddit.

They also revealed the reason why each and every photo on the subreddit has the title 'hmmm.' "The titles are all 'hmmm' because it means you can experience the image without someone forcing their personal interpretation onto it in the form of a title. Whether it's funny or sad is up to you to determine. It is also about purity. In order for your post to go through, you need to submit to a rigid tradition. People willing to do that generally care enough to post excellent content."

Scroll down for our full interview with the head moderator, as well as with author and comedy expert Ariane Sherine, who gave her take on bizarre images that lack context.

As you scroll down, remember to upvote the pics that you liked the most. Got any wacky theories about what’s going on in each one? Share your thoughts about them in the comments. If you’re in the mood for some more photos that will raise the bar for what you find peculiar, then you’ll definitely want to check out Bored Panda’s previous articles about the r/hmmm community right over here and here.

#1

Hmmm

Hmmm

reddit.com Report

River Webb
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

thats why he hasn't returned, he's been waiting for the cat to get off his lap

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The head moderator, CosmicKeys, revealed that even though the r/hmmm subreddit was technically created in 2008, we should consider its real founding date to be 2016. "/r/hmmm was founded in 2016 by users from snoonet irc. It was technically created in 2008, but had no activity up until that point, so 2016 is the real creation date," they told Bored Panda.

CosmicKeys said that they'd add new content to the subreddit every day. "I would post daily pictures while chat was going for people to laugh at oddities from different corners of the internet. That grew into a large collection, so /r/hmmm was born. The name comes from a thread that would appear occasionally on 4chan, and the content was inspired by a website called spaceghetto," they shared the inspiration for the subreddit as a whole.

According to the moderator, some images tend to be excluded if the idea behind them becomes far too popular. Face swaps are a good example of this. "The subreddit is about obscure and strange images, so over time as certain types of images have gone from obscure to popular we've made rules to exclude them," CosmicKeys shared.

#2

Hmmm

Hmmm

AstroCow Report

British comedy expert and comedy writer Ariane, from London, told Bored Panda that, generally speaking, the more bizarre something is, the more we’re likely to chuckle, giggle, and laugh about it.

“The weirder and more surprising the photo, the more likely it is to make us laugh,” she said that the weirdness catches us unaware and we instinctively end up laughing. 

“I tend to laugh the most at animals pulling human expressions while doing crazy things!” she opened up.

#5

Hmmm

Hmmm

Pastoral_Trainer_ Report

GenericPanda09
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Anyone else hearing the Mission Impossible music in their head whilst looking at this one?

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I spoke to Ariane about the role that context plays in comedy. In her opinion, humor is instantaneous. Context only becomes vital when there’s such a stunning lack of it that it starts to infringe on our ability to get the joke. If the audience doesn’t find the photo or situation relatable at all, they might end up asking for more information to get the joke. And that can harm the comedic effect.

“Context is important only if we’re unlikely to get a joke otherwise, as I think the sooner we get a joke, the funnier we find it,” Ariane told Bored Panda. “If it takes us a while then that initial shock and surprise is delayed and so we’re less likely to laugh and more likely to go ‘oh, I get it now!’”

In short, this means that even though the photos from r/hmmm quite obviously lack context, they also seem to have enough of it available to make us laugh. We can relate to the photos on some level. Well, at least to most of them.

#7

Hmmm

Hmmm

YextFE Report

Daria Z
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Hmmm I wouldn't mind seeing this in person 😋

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#8

Hmmm

Hmmm

anislitim Report

Natalie Bohrteller
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I like that. We should have more accurate mannequins for women too ;)

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I was also curious about Ariane’s opinion on whether we’re born with comedic talent or if it’s a skill like any other. To be developed, nourished, and honed. In her view, it’s both.

“Some people are born with funny bones, but those who aren’t so lucky could watch a lot of great standup comedy and try to emulate the timing and pace,” Ariane suggested how we can develop our sense of humor and comedic timing. “There are also some excellent comedy courses available online.”

#12

Hmmm

Hmmm

YextFE Report

According to Urban Dictionary, ‘hmmm’ is the sound made by those who are “in the act of thinking.” However, fellow internet users, note the number of m’s there. There are, in fact, 3. ‘Hmmm,’ therefore, “represents more thinking than hmm, but significantly less cranial activity than hmmmm.”

#14

Hmmm

Hmmm

YextFE Report

eeeeeeeee
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"give us this day, our daily bone........and deliver us from hoovers"

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The subreddit, stresses the fact that all titles have to be ‘hmmm,’ all in lowercase. Yes, absolutely every post shared on the sub has the same title. It’s as bizarre a rule as many of the photos themselves. Do we love it? You betcha! This is the sort of quirky stuff that the internet was made for.

The moderators of r/hmmm also ask their members not to post any memes, mashups, or drawings. They might be funny and make us go r/hmmm, but the subreddit is for real-life situations only. Oh, and if you’ve got a gif instead of a photo to share, they’ve got their own separate subreddit for them called r/hmmmgifs right over here.

#18

Hmmm

Hmmm

JijidoMan Report

JuJu
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior Cthulhu?

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Know Your Meme explains that the r/hmmm subreddit “remained relatively dormant” until mid-February of 2017. A photo of a man with a pack of Pitbulls wearing sunglasses went viral and put the entire community on the map. And no wonder, the photo really does make you go ‘hmmm,’ as you wonder what the ever-loving heck is going on there. Ever since then, r/hmmm has been a thriving community. And we hope that’ll continue. In a world where information is readily available at our fingertips, it’s a real luxury to look at a photo and stand, confused, wondering what exactly is happening.

#20

Hmmm

Hmmm

dickles_hamsters Report

See Also on Bored Panda
#27

Hmmm

Hmmm

YextFE Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

For the kind of drivers that also plow into snow figures and tidy lawns.

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#28

Hmmm

Hmmm

YextFE Report

Hans
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

When elemantary schoolers realize just how embarassing you are...

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#32

Hmmm

Hmmm

seven_critical_blows Report

Natalie Bohrteller
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don't see anything wrong here. Just a teen (not) enjoying their birthday.

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#33

Hmmm

Hmmm

seven_critical_blows Report

Hans
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Frankly, the only reason of having these kind of hostesses is for people to check them out. (And this is probably not the place to discuss how ridiculously objectifying this is.) I cannot see why this should then be reserved for men. The soldier surely is enjoying it.

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#36

Hmmm

Hmmm

YextFE Report

Vasha
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's called clear lemon meringue pie, recipes online

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#37

Hmmm

Hmmm

TesticalsOfNarnia Report

Buren
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The key to perfect disguise is hiding in a plain sight

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#38

Hmmm

Hmmm

YextFE Report

Roborowski
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Doctor Zaius, Honorius and some other orangutans commuting to work 🦧

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#40

Hmmm

Hmmm

chirag1220 Report

Hans
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It is photoshopped, but the Dutch still approve.

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#42

Hmmm

Hmmm

YextFE Report

Rick
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I wish they would STOP using that sealed plastic crap. It’s bad for the environment and can cause deep cuts trying to open it

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#45

Hmmm

Hmmm

chocolat_ice_cream Report

Julia Atkinson
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Crocs may not be a good fashion choice but she has every right to wear them

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#48

Hmmm

Hmmm

reddit.com Report

Rick
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Looks like the guy is disabled and wearing a prosthetic leg, could that have something to do with it?

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#50

Hmmm

Hmmm

seven_critical_blows Report

Tobias Rieper
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

tell me you're American without telling me you're American

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Note: this post originally had 99 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.