^Effective, yes. But not realistic. People don't routinely turn down promotion when offered it, not more than once in any event.
It would have made more sense for Riker to have his own ship after "The Best of Both Worlds" and for Shelby to replace him as Enterprise
first officer. Riker could have remained a semi-regular for the remainder of the fourth season, perhaps popping up every few episodes with his new ship and crew to give the Enterprise
a hand. It actually would have been a nice touch with the outbreak of the Klingon Civil War and might have provided some nice parallel plots.
By the end of the year, Riker could have been completely on his own, and Shelby would have been established as Picard's new right hand. I know that Roddenberry wanted to paint a picture of harmony and cohesion, but he could have done that without having Riker rooted in place for so many years.
Obviously, Gene wasn't to blame for anything that happened following his death (and his involvement in the years leading up to that was minimal), but the idea that someone would turn down better jobs because he liked the idea of never leaving his friends doesn't make sense. I would have been okay with Riker staying until the end of the TV series if he had his own ship by the time Generations
was ready to hit theaters. When he finally left to command Titan
, I wasn't really happy for him. I was glad he finally decided to move on.