Thanks for asking this Don, and for your contributions so far. I also appreciate finding out about MarkdownPad!
Does the community frown on novels? Is brevity a virtue here? Does it even matter?
While there isn't a specific suggested length for answers, there is some guidance:
The 'close question' dialog indicates that there is such a thing as "too long":
The "don't ask" section of the Help Center indicates that a question that requires a very lengthy answer probably isn't a good fit for this site:
There is a hard limit of 30,000 characters in a post:
There are some very long and at the same time very useful answers on the site, for example this one that I love. The answer you posted the other day is not too long in my opinion, and it helps a great deal that it is clearly laid out and makes good use of markdown formatting. If you provide a good conclusion of 'tl;dr' section it makes a long answer much more palatable.
So, brevity does matter, but don't be afraid to post a long answer if it is required. It's more important here to join the dots of your logic for those who might not come from the same hermeneutical background as yourself than it is to cover every base. Tangents can be relegated to footnotes if that helps keep the meat of the answer more focused and accessible.