Saving effort (not having to write something, or copy and paste)
Fixing mistakes and vandalism
Testing In the past, technical considerations because of some now long obsolete and rarely used browsers prompted a firm recommendation that articles be limited to a maximum size of precisely 32Kb, since editing any article longer than that would cause severe problems. With the advent of the section editing feature, and the availability of upgrades for the affected browsers, this once hard and fast rule has been softened. However, there are still some stylistic reasons why an article should not be too long:
- Tiring of reading.
Readers may tire of reading a page much longer than about 6,000 to 10,000 words, which roughly corresponds to 30 to 50 KB of readable prose (tables, list-like sections and markup excluded). Thus the 32Kb recommendation is considered to have stylistic value in many cases; if an article is significantly longer than that, then it might be advisable to eventually summarize sections and to move the detail to other articles or to subpages. For most long pages, division into sections is natural anyway; even if there is no "natural" way to split a long list or table, many editors believe that it should be done anyway, to allow section editing.
- No need for haste.
Do not take precipitous action the very instant an article exceeds 32K. There is no need for haste. Discuss the overall topic structure with other editors. Determine whether the topic should be treated as several shorter articles and, if so, how best to organize them. Sometimes an article simply needs to be big to give the subject adequate coverage; certainly, size is no reason to remove valid and useful information.
- Breaking out a controversial section.
A relatively trivial fact may be appropriate in the context of the larger article, but inappropriate as the topic of an entire article in itself. In most cases, it is a violation of the 'neutral point of view' to specifically break out a controversial section without leaving an adequate summary. Consider other organizational principles for splitting the article. Be sure that both the title and content of the broken-out article reflect a neutral point of view.
- A rule of thumb.
Some useful rules of thumb for splitting articles, and combining small pages (tables, list-like sections and markup excluded):
- >50KB - Probably should be divided (although the scope of a topic can sometimes justify the added reading time)
- >30KB - May eventually need to be divided (likelihood goes up with size; this is less critical for lists)
- >20KB - Might need to be divided
- <20KB - Probably should not be divided
- <1K - If an article or list has remained this size for over a couple of months, consider combining it with a related page; this does not apply to a redirect or disambiguation page. Alternatively, why not fix it by adding more info? If it's a really important article that's just too short, put it the Community Bulletin Board on the Main Page.