As you certainly know LaTeX does not center figure captions by default. The first line is centered in most cases, but the following lines behave like regular text. Centering all the lines can be easily achieved with the
caption package, but it’s not the default behavior. I’ve always wondered about this.
In general, using LaTeX with all default options and parameters (and a basic class such as
book) ensures a document that is at least typographically correct and rather well designed. Arguably, you can always improve plenty of things, but the default is really OK (I would say) and can be used even with little typographical knowledge. Except for this caption centering thing (which is arguably the most shocking feature of a LaTeX document typeset with default settings). It just looks so wrong.
Why was this choice made by the LaTeX developers? Is it really bad practice to center captions, and is the LaTeX behavior ‘how it sould be’? Or is it just a bug or an involuntary side effect?