@julian F'uppin Hilarious this..
Thumbnails are top level item. There is no other way about it. The image is a placeholder for everything else, even the title tbh, since we read images faster than words.
No one can change that but you can fight it.
However, what we have here is a battle brought to us by social media imposing new-norms, it's a duel of competing images.
Avatar Vs Thumbnail.
You can have either in the same position but not both. I think that's the equitable solution, as the twain shall never meet by all accounts, and also having both causes multi-mayhem form layout to user-feedback, ahem.
Make it configurable in the ACP for any and all grumpy admins can then be free to find the next grump to grump about, like me.