Wikipedia:Shrink, don't split
|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.|
|This page in a nutshell: If an article is getting too big, consider refocusing the page rather than branching it off into other pages.|
- You're editing the article George W. Bush when you realize that the criticism and public perception section is getting too big. WP:SUMMARY and WP:SIZE tells you that you should probably break off that section into a new article. So after you add all the new information you found, you split it into Criticism of George W. Bush and Public perception of George W. Bush (still leaving most of what is in the new page back in the main article).
- So now, we've got these two new pages that are kind of small, so other editors seize the opportunity to make them bigger, because WP:STUB suggests that users bulk up wimpy articles. And before you know it, we've got two big pages again, chock full of information that may not have been originally intended to be included in a branch off of George W. Bush. So now what happens? Do we split again (because that's what WP:SIZE tells me)? Should we make a "Domestic criticism of George W. Bush" page when the former gets too large? And when that one's too big, should that branch off to "Domestic criticism of George W. Bush by Democrats?"
- And all the while other pages like Domestic and Foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration begin cropping up, each developing their own adaptations to their role as a branch off of George W. Bush.
When an article gets too big, sometimes splitting is the best solution. But what's left out of the all the policy listed above is the fact that sometimes, big sections may seem notable when they actually aren't. People feel the need to add everything Bush is criticized about to Criticism of George W. Bush, but many don't stop to realize that that page is really just a branch of "George W. Bush" and adding more facts, while encyclopedic, is not really adding to the page it was originally meant for.
The best option in this case is to shrink, don't split: add your new information if you think it's necessary, and maybe remove some extra stuff that's just cluttering up the page. Most of the time, pages like Criticism of George W. Bush can be summarized into the main text without including other extraneous information that would otherwise be of little value. Instead of branching off right away when you see a section is getting too big, ask yourself whether a move like that would be beneficial to the page as a whole. If a section documents a minor part of a person's life or a negligible fact about a certain something, even if it can be well verified by many sources, be advised that the content in a new branch may be lacking encyclopedic value.