Instructions unclear is a reaction meme template that is most often used in online comment sections, usually under videos or threads that aim to give instructions on very simple topics.
The meme’s purpose is to emphasize feelings of absurdity that roots from comical misunderstanding, by performing something dangerous or improper instead of executing the given simple instructions.
— CodeDoesMeme (@CodeDoesMeme) February 2, 2019
The phrase originates from a 2012 YouTube video’s comment section.
The video’s title was “How to touch wall with apple”, and that is literally what we could see in the clip. The comment mentioned above was the following: “The instructions weren’t clear enough. I got my **** caught in the ceiling fan.”.
This has become the top comment under the video and it has captured the attention of many. Soon people started to screenshot it to then repost it in different communities and boards as a reaction meme.
The instructions unclear format has spread all over the internet, one of the key platforms where it started to flourish was Reddit’s r/funny thread, starting from 2012.
Many image macros were also uploaded on Imgur from 2013 that featured instructions unclear.
In the same year, a comic sketch made by Cyanide & Happiness also featured the instructions unclear gag. This kick-started the meme to spread through the web via popular meme-sharing sites like 9gag.