Similar to yesteryday's blog post I made on a more professional writing style for the wiki, I have another post on how I think the wiki should be regulated for it's improvement, somewhat tying in to my two overall goals: professionalism and accuracy. Once again, I have a particular article as example: the 50 Foot Congo Snake article.
Looking at the article, there is a picture, which I presume to be a picture of the exact creature the article mentioned. But it lacks a caption. Therefore, I cannot know for sure whether or not it is the individual described, or if it's just a picture of a snake to fill in blanks. A reader could have the same problem. Without allusion in the article or the caption of the picture, they can assume, but not know, the picture's meaning. Additionally, as an admin and editor of this wiki, I cannot know for sure what the picture represents in order to add a caption myself.
There should be few or no pictures in articles that do not have captions. A picture should by default have a caption, or SPECIFIC allusion to it in the article - I mean say "Pictured to left" or something, not just say that there were pictures but not say whether the ones shown are those mentioned (see below) - talking about what the picture/drawingwhatever depicts, its origin, or both. If a picture has a caption that one way or another clarifies what is is specifically, is doesn't need to refer to the article - the specific allusion doesn't go both ways. It of course can, if whoever is writing the caption wishes so
There are only two reasons one should not: 1. If sufficient information on the picture cannot be found in order to say anything meaningful at all about it, not even describing what is being shown. In this case, I would suggest it be put into question whether the picture should be included at all. 2. If there is some other argument that can be made a given picture should not have a caption. I can't think of a reason one should or could not, and if you can, please comment below.
So in general, my suggestion is informal regulations in place that all images have explanatory material in the form of a caption or specific allusion in the article that features it.
Note: As a note to the particular example article I used, and as an example of what I mean by specific allusion, I will present a paragraph from the snake article as it currently is written:
"Upon the discovery, he then turned around and made several passes over the snake at a lower altitude in order to allow another person on board to photograph the creature. However they left after the snake appeared to be in a striking position. It's believed to be a Titanoboa or maybe even a new species."
There are two things here that are relevant. Firstly, and this is an actual problem that needs fixing with the article, it states they were planning to take a picture, and were seemingly ready to, but it is quite vague on whether or not they ever did take a picture. Read the paragraph again from an objective point of view: Can you really understand if they did or did not take a picture? I don't think so. The answer to this should be figured out with more research into the described events of the article, and clarified.
Secondly, I'll use this to show what is not specific allusion. See, let's pretend the paragraph did properly communicate that there was a picture. It doesn't actually make mention of the picture to the right of the paragraph, so we don't know if that's the picture being mentioned, even if it's heavily implied. It would have to mention specifically that the picture they took can be seen to the right, or something like that. Of course, if the image had a caption, the paragraph would need no such thing. As it stands, the article is just one of likely many with this problem that needs addressing.
Note: Since I'm using the 50 Foot Congo Snake article as an example, I will make a notice about regulating image use and vandilism, which doesn't need saying as much as reminding. The article has a large picture at the bottom [of the article] that has both a false caption, and no relation to the article. Captions as much as article content should be regulated for accuracy. Meanwhile, if an image so obviously not relevant can be left untouched for a few days short of half a year (and counting), then I think we need a reminder to be logical and ask ourselves whether or not an image should really be there, to prevent such potential vandilism as the one I've just put in question.