However, Erik's constraint that articles
shouldn't be such that they will
always remain stubs would probably disqualify it, if we accept his wish
for articles to be 20,000 to 30,000 characters in length.
Let me rephrase my argument: A subject which cannot be covered in such
detail should not have its own article. It should not be merged into
another text if it can realistically grow to that size when relying on
verifiable information. I think you understood it this way, but I'm not
sure everyone else did.
The length itself is debatable, but I think most of us agree that we don't
want one-paragraph texts about every single fictional character out there.
Long articles have several advantages:
* A topic is kept in context, eliminating the need to write a separate
intro for each individual article
* It becomes easy to save, print and pass around an article covering all
* We do not require the reader to click around unnecessarily, which can be
confusing to many people
* Should we decide on some major structural change or even a deletion, it
becomes easier to fix things
* The same goes for links: The less articles there are, the less double
redirects, the less links that need to be manually edited and so on
* A short average article length does not reflect well on our article
count, which is one of the key instruments used for size comparisons
The arguments against long articles:
Hard to edit:
One of the features on my personal wishlist is the ability to edit an
individual article section. If you have this preference enabled (should be
default for signed in users, off for anons) you get an "" link next
to each article section headline, and this individual section can be
loaded into the edit window. This makes it trivial to edit large articles.
No linkability to individual sections:
Supporting a [[foo#bar]] style syntax is not the problem. However, keeping
these links working is non-trivial. It might be desirable to only have
this label functionality for some sections, instead of automatically
turning every section title into a label.
This is a valid argument, but splitting up articles is not the solution:
instead of giving our reader easy access to the pertinent info, we now
hide it with the justification that it is "too much to read". The solution
is structure. Have a proper introduction with a decent summary, and put
every relevant piece of information into the right section. We could try
to develop guidelines for structuring articles in specific subject areas.
For some articles, splitting off specific points, e.g. long criticism
discussions, may be desirable to avoid detracting from the main substance
of the article. But this gets us into NPOV territory, and should be
discussed for each individual article.