Hi Simon,

I think part of the problem is that the amount of collision is not even
constant for the cases above. Compare the very bottom system on the image I
posted, note how the flag barely touches the bottom note a' but completely
collides with the bottom e'. 

> At least you’d have to give very good evidence and convince a large
> majority that it would be better to avoid this at the expense of longer
> stems. 

Or of shorter flags. Elaine Gould writes on p. 16 of her /Behind Bars/:
"[s]o that tails do not touch the noteheads of down-stemmed notes, some
editions shorten the tails while others lengthen the stems."

You can notice how inconsistent is the distance between noteheads and flags
in the top system of this example below:



I think it's clear that the distance of the flags to the noteheads of notes
that are normally down stemmed (higher than and including b') is different
than those that are normally stemmed up (lower than b'). In the bottom
system, I simply forced the second case to be the same as the first, and the
consistency and lack of collisions look much better to me.

Take care,

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