first attempt at "article" page layout standards/policy
I tend to go the other way -- I find large blocks of text much more difficult to process, and prefer to have subtopics summarized with a link so I can see quickly which areas are covered, and can look at a given subtopic without being distracted by the others. But not everyone has my particular variant of ADD. An extension to automatically transclude subpages if the user chooses that as a preference might solve this dilemma, and is something I came up with awhile ago and found appealing.
I take your point about usability barriers, though, and I have at times wished for a "single page" feature wherein all appropriate subpages could be combined into one. There's an extension called "Book" (I think) which lets you create a collection of pages and pump them out as a single PDF; I'm not sure if it offers a single-page view of the collection, but that seems like something that wouldn't be difficult to do. It also shouldn't be difficult to create a "page-flattener" extension which adds a tab at the top ("flat" or "single page") which displays the current page plus all subpages as a single page.
Also, for what it's worth, I've made conscious (but largely undocumented) decisions not to go with Wikipedia's conventions in a number of areas. (Collecting news items that discuss a topic, rather than being primary sources on that topic, is one such area.)
Words are for communications, but conventions are sometimes helpful towards that end as well. If I keep to a convention that a "Links" section is for external links and a "Pages" section is for internal links, then I can communicate the same ideas as "external links" and "internal links" less ambiguously and with fewer words.
I'm still thinking about this, though -- not decided. Issuepedia has been largely on the back burner for the past couple of weeks. :-P