I'd like to know why the usermeta table stores each option as a new record rather than sets the many default options as many fields in one record.
I'm planning on using WP to manage the online version of a magazine and there are >5000 subscribers that I want to add to the database. I also plan to create a new table that has information about them, such as mailing address, fax, etc. to link to their Login ID.
Is it easier (and practical) for me to create all of these extra metadata in the usermeta table rather than to structure a table with all this data? If there are 20 metadata fields (or more) per user and 5000 users, that would be 100,000 records in the usermeta table.
Seems to me that would make a mess of a usermeta table. The option I'm considering is disregarding creating usermeta fields for all the users I'm adding and creating my own table or tables to store all the data for them. One point being that they will be able to login and update this data through WP.