Wikipedia:Image thumbnails blurry
This is a short essay to explain that, yes, since late 2008, the thumbnail images have become blurry. It's not just a case of mistaken memory, or perhaps something's wrong with your computer, or PNG-images-were-better so that's why they were forcing people to use them. No, no, something major has happened. Could it be....Wiki-SATAN????
Well, the developers like to think that they're helping to make things better. However, all the GIF images that formerly auto-thumbnailed so cleanly and fast, now they just auto-compress, leaving out "every-other-line" to fit within the small thumbnail sizes. Almost all sizes of GIF thumbnails have become very blurry, now, since the end of 2008.
Again, this is not just an illusion – PROOF: back in 2006–2008, when checking the sizes of GIF thumbnails (with right-click "Properties"), a thumbnail image typically had a smaller data size (in kilobytes) than the full-size image. However, now all GIF thumbnails have exactly the same data size as the full image. In fact, it is the same data image, and when viewed full-size, it is already downloaded to the computer (from the wiki-servers) as the full GIF image. Advantage: Even though a GIF thumbnail image typically appears blurry, it can be instantly displayed as full-size, because it IS the full-size image in a compressed display.
Some PNG files will no longer auto-upsize to widths larger than the original, without causing the image to become skewed and blurry. Otherwise, PNG images still auto-thumbnail to smaller sizes and retain most of the clarity when smaller.
All through 2008 and early 2009, JPEG images seem to thumbnail OK as well.
The major problem has been the GIF thumbnails, and there are thousands of them. One hard-hit area has been the maps of New York City or numerous maps of New York state. Some quick, clean maps of Wyoming have also been ruined. So, there's misery all around for these problems.
Solution: DON'T PANIC!! Remember this is Wikipedia (aka "Wackipedia") and no one expects solid quality, so there's no worry, and no hurry to fix things. Lots of vandalism is even being left in articles, because, if no one cares enough to fix it, then "it can't matter all that much". On balance, it is more important to get the general ideas across to the readers, and most readers who want more details will click to enlarge a fuzzy GIF image and get the instant clear full-size image.
Wikipedia's strength is not in elegant, impressive presentations, but rather in masses of tid-bits being discovered by the readers. Meanwhile, they can click-to-enlarge the fuzzy GIF images. Perhaps, it should be called Fuzzipedia, because that is how it is all jumbled together, as a giant fuzzy mass of incomplete pages, tilted images, and other stuff.
And... there's stuff for everyone in Wikipedia: where else could people find over 34,000 articles about footballers (soccer players)? Wikipedia's more than 800,000 sports articles are a clear indication that tid bits have been collected about everything (well, almost everything). So, that's why the rule is: DON'T PANIC. Over 8,000 people join Wikipedia everyday, and whole masses of people are learning to cope will all the problems, regardless of what happens next.
So, just click to enlarge a fuzzy GIF thumbnail and get the instant clear full-size image.