Jim; I'm on your team! In spite of what Rob says, If I'm running a large panel through the saw I want it supported ALL THE WAY THROUGH ITS LENGTH!
To say that a 4x8 sheet won't move left to right, just because a 10" section is interacting with the blade is a fantasy.
Dan: You said you are on "Jim's" team and want a large panel supported all the way through, but Jim, the OP was wondering about using a short fence. I responded by saying I want the wood supported all the way through as well. I'm hoping you got the name's mixed up.
Rob: I don't argue with your opinion, so telling me that I'm "washed up" is a little over the top. MY OPINION, is that I wouldn't rip with a short fence. I referred to Delta's UniFence. In their instructions, all reference to ripping operations show the fence in it's normal position, front to back. In their reference to crosscutting, or in their words "USING THE FENCE AS A CUT-OFF GAUGE", they warn that the "rear end of the fence be positioned in front of the blade".
In my opinion, having no fence to support the work piece past the blade COULD create a pivot point as you push the work piece. What would prevent the would from pivoting into the blade? Why don't you just rip without a fence, maybe hurt yourself, launch a lawsuit and a new line of, say SawStops???
The link to the article tells us that the British think we (North Americans) are crazy. Yet these are the same folks that don't create saws with arbors that are long enough to support dado blades.
I'll keep using my fence in it's full position to rip boards and my miter gauge or panel sled to cosscut, thanks. Yup, I've still got all my fingers and plan to keep it that way.