AndyA - 5:33 pm on May 26, 2012 (gmt 0)
I think you also have to consider the topic. Sometimes you have to be more verbose when explaining details and differences that are important. If you don't, some will fail to see that you are talking about different things.
I agree that when done with the intention of just attracting more eyes to a page, it's a problem. However, on my site if I don't make of point of repeating some things using different words or phrases to show contrast, the contrast is lost to some. It makes perfect sense to those who are familiar with the subject, and for those readers, they appreciate the explicit details that clarify the subject matter. It is also helpful to those who are thinking about making a purchase, as often the details are necessary to help them decide what to buy.
This makes me wonder how a search engine, that's not necessarily familiar with the topic, its variances, and its specifics, can make the determination that the additional words used to provide details aren't really necessary.
I also find that I tend to repeat things, using different words, to make sure I'm not confusing the reader, but that's just my style. The search engines are going to have to find a way to identify pages that are wordy in order to be precise because the subject requires it, versus adding copy in an attempt to just get more eyes on the page. If they don't, many of the best pages on some topics will be lost if penalties are applied just because the copy is deemed to be overweight.