Long articles like the ones mentioned above are not for everyone. In fact, their potential audience is much, much smaller than, say, a three paragraph jab at software patents. While those jabs are fun – sort of – it’s these long articles that are by far the most fulfilling to write. The Palm article alone took months and months of work – research, making notes, educating myself about low-level stuff, devising a structure, setting a tone, organising the six hundred different subjects I wanted to cover, the actual writing process, revising it all, while also doing my regular job, and so on – but it is by far the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had for OSNews.
…Is still writing to an audience.
Personally I think word count can be an indication of granularity, and whether that granularity is fluff or padding depends on the reader’s familiarity with the subject, and to some extent, the writer.