I reckon I have wasted - and I mean wasted, because nothing constructive emerged - six to twelve hours of my life arguing with the other refs over six-odd downtimes. As a conservative estimate. So why is this the case?
We regularly receive downtimes of over a thousand words. Fantastic, the players are interested in the setting and system and want to do things! Great! But if those thousand words consist of closely-typed bullet points detailing every detail of your character's life, your job, your investigations and your researches - and all of those points involve plot, needing us to respond to every single one of them individually and remember them when dealing with other downtimes - then it slows us down somewhat.
I know that some people's characters have day jobs that are in effect 'Plot Hound Extraordinaire to the City and Environs'. I would rather, however, have downtimes containing "I do my job competently, taking into account [factors and interesting things]" than long long ones which basically say the previous statement with more words and more ref time required.
I love long downtimes that are works of art and detail in great detail things that we just need to nod through. I love long downtimes all about interesting things your character has done or intends to do in uptime. And where there's a specific reason for a downtime with many actions as opposed to doing the same things in uptime (I'm thinking of the illicit priests here) - well, in exchange for a character who enriches the world by existing, you get more love from the refs.
So you decide you're going to cast a couple of Talk To spells? We'll probably run it before Time In and give you cool answers. So you decide you're going to spend a few hundred mana / 50 spirit on investigations? Like hell can we run it before Time In, so we have to give you an overview. At which point we argue, because we have to do so to make sure the answer is fair on you and on the other players.
So you investigate 50 things where someone else investigates one? The ref doing your downtime feels obliged to give you at least something on each, even though you're not going to get everything on any of them. There's never going to be a hard cap on the length of a downtime. But basically we might have to go to a system where rather than (as currently) giving less about each thing because you're spreading yourself thin, you get instead a couple of good answers followed by "You have no time for anything further this week without consequences due to abandoning your job or not sleeping". That is much easier and quicker for a ref to write, but it means you don't end up doing what you wanted to be doing.
There may be more here.
That's it! I'm hijacking this rant to add some opinions (if that's okay) - ahdok
Koryne adds her tuppence... Yup, exactly. For goodness' sake if you're going to metagame do it in an interesting way - it is in no way BadWrongFun? to hijack PCs to work for you (rather than NPCs) in the full knowledge that, provided their players submit their downtimes, they'll be far more effective than equivalent NPCs. Plot that runs out of uptime needs only a short epilogue - or something to get it back into uptime. If you're genuinely interested in a plot get other characters involved, the quickest way to kill something is to grab it and stop any other PCs finding out about it. As a Ref I'll quickly lose interest in something unless it potentially effects more than one PC. And I should stop here, since I've already ranted about most of this in Koryne/DowntimeThoughts.