TUK020 wrote:We are in danger of conflating two different points:
- a reference library of carefully crafted answers to points that arise infrequently
- brevity in posts.
I agree - except that it's not a "danger": the conflation is clearly there (and IMHO quite deliberately so) in the OP.
TUK020 wrote:Both are desirable. The site organizers can implement the first simply.
Not sure about the second. ...
I agree about the first, but not about the second: I think posts should be as long as is needed to be clear both
to the person who originally asked the question or made the comment that it's answering and
to the board readership in general. It's possible to misjudge (in either direction) what's needed for either of those, and even when one gets that right, it's possible that one requires greater length than the other. One cannot please all of the people all of the time.
In addition, readers have a very easy and simple remedy for posts they find too long: skip past them (and don't respond to them in that case - not unless they want to expose themselves to ridicule!). Posting complaints about the length of posts is basically a matter of responding to what one thinks is excess verbiage by adding yet more verbiage!
Whereas readers who get a too-short reply are liable to be left with further questions (not too bad - they can respond by asking them) or still confused (potentially much worse, especially when they haven't realised they're confused in the first place - e.g. about whether rights issues are offering shareholders a bargain).
So basically, I think that of the possible responses to a post that one finds too long, simply deciding "not intended for me - I'll leave those it is intended for to get on with it" is the one that helps the site run most smoothly. A principle I apply frequently myself in other contexts - for example, I don't
post "why on earth is this worth raising on TLF???" responses to every thread started with an RNS announcement by GlaxoSmithKline or AstraZeneca about the results of some clinical trial: I know I don't have the expertise to comment meaningfully on such clinical trial results, and the near-total lack of responses about them (as opposed to general comment on the companies) indicates that just about everyone else also lacks either the expertise or the desire to comment on them.
TUK020 wrote:... Perhaps we can start asking the War and Peace folks to provide exec summaries.
Of course people can ask
for exec summaries! That is however just like any other request people make to other site users: they're completely free to decide whether to spend their time on providing whatever is being requested. And in my case at least, I not infrequently quite specifically don't
want to provide an exec summary. In particular, I'm often interested in giving people all the arguments and facts that I'm aware of and they should take into account in making their own decisions, not
in guiding them towards any particular decision. (In such circumstances, I did spend the extra time and effort to provide exec summaries to my employer when I was employed, but there's a crucial difference: my employer was paying
me to do so, whereas I post on TLF because I want
Anyway, if the admins and moderators want to bring in rules/guidelines about posts not exceeding some length, or having to provide an exec summary if they do, or such like, I'll comply with them. But I will point out that there are multiple ways of complying with posting rules, the simplest and easiest of which is not to post at all...