The internet is this one enormous space where every weirdly specific thing finds its home. There’s no secret there. Like, misleading thumbnails. Yep, you heard it right. Misleading thumbnails you often find on social media are a thing for this Reddit community which goes by the exact same title: Misleading thumbnails.
489k members of this online group are sharing weird, funny, and cool pics that are not always what you think they are. The logic is simple: some Reddit thumbnails cause a unique optical illusion due to their small size and make you go: “hmm… let’s see.”
According to the group’s description, “when you open the images to full size, you're in for a surprise.” So today, we picked some of the most misleading pics that will make you scratch your head before realizing you got bamboozled.
To find out more about the Misleading Thumbnails subreddit, Bored Panda reached out to their moderator team, who was happy to share their story. The moderator u/pajam said that r/misleadingthumbnails was created by a user named Noot 9 years ago when he was “scrolling through Reddit and came across this thumbnail.”
The creator couldn't imagine this not being some sort of NSFW image, but then when he opened it and saw the full-size image, he realized it was just a baby pig between two other pigs. “So he was misled by the thumbnail, and thought it was a unique experience blending optical illusions with a sort of 'mind-blown' experience.”
And since there was no subreddit dedicated to this, he created r/misleadingthumbnails, which now has 489k members.
But it turns out that the evolution of the subreddit has been “somewhat frustrating,” because “for over a decade, Reddit's default design included thumbnails for every post,” u/pajam explained.
But the new Reddit redesign has made r/misleadingthumbnails way more confusing for new members. “New Reddit has made 'Card View' the default view for new users, thus those users won't see any thumbnails whatsoever unless they actively switch to 'Classic View' or change their settings to use the 'Old Reddit' design.”
As a result, r/misleadingthumbnails attracted a lot of new users who didn’t get the purpose of the subreddit. “They would instead treat it like the plethora of other 'Misleading Images' subreddits (/r/Pareidolia, /r/confusing_perspective, /r/forbiddensnacks, etc.).”
But the moderator said the community stays positive since they still have a lot of redditors who prefer the old Reddit design as “most users who were redditors before the redesign” and “they are passionate users about keeping the subreddit true to its roots.”
Today, the subreddit gets an average of 1 to 30 posts a day. “Our content is limited and comes in waves, as it relies on random chance. You never know what images will end up looking different when it gets shrunk down to Reddit's thumbnail size.” However, when it happens, it's a pleasant surprise for everyone, and “we'd love people to share those posts here.”
When it comes to the meaning of “Misleading Thumbnails,” u/pajam explained that it refers to “the experience of scrolling through Reddit, browsing the post titles and thumbnails... then seeing a thumbnail that your brain can't imagine could be anything else besides what it assumes it is looking at.”
But as soon as you click on the post to see the full-size image, you literally get bamboozled. “Your mind gets sorta blown as the image looks entirely different now. Somehow the act of shrinking the image down to the size of a tiny Reddit thumbnail unexpectedly caused a unique optical illusion.”
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The moderator summed up that this precise experience of “clicking into the post and getting your mind blown, or a few seconds of straight-up confusion, was a unique experience we wanted to capture in our subreddit.”
The moderator further explained that “Old Reddit thumbnails were always a tiny 70 pixels wide, so it wasn't uncommon for the loss of detail and small size to lead to unexpected optical illusions.”
However, even if you don’t use old Reddit on your desktop, you can still choose “Classic View” on new Reddit, or other mobile apps. In this way, “you’ll get similarly sized thumbnails to have the same experience.”