When do prompts get out of hand? I.e. when do they get more in the way than not? For the longest time I ran with the directory creeping prompt that most distros seem to ship with. After I figured out how to use readline's history via the ! expansions, my prompt became minimal (just "\!> ").
However, now with a windows install with an file system layout that I don't know well, I found that I needed my current directory shown, so I'm using the following bash prompt setup: