Man alive, I hate that term, but ya'll are using it, so here goes.
For my money, this is what the NNH is: An acknowledgment that public, civil criticism in the face of public praise is not unwelcome in published, sold products.
Let me break this down:
* Acknowledgment -- there seems to be, by a number of people, an unspoken rule against public criticism. I see it as a combination of the social pressures of the group and, dare I say, the sword of "harshing the zen" hanging over our heads. Seriously, I have aborted many posts previously because of those three words. There is now spoken acknowledgment that there is an audience who wants this -- though, the delivery mechanism (for lack of a better term) is still being debated (to use the term generously). So there, we at least have that.
* Public criticism -- praise is so public, and there is a need for the counterpoint so that members of the community are not mislead into buying books because they see everyone praise it and no one criticize it. This provides a hook for the second goal of reminding people that there are voices willing to tell you your product isn't perfect and wonderful, and are willing to do so publicly.
* Civil criticism -- you know what doesn't help? "Man, I read Mythender and it gave me cancer. I hope the writer dies of a feral cat attack." Hyperbole? Sure. Seriously, being civil is good. I feel weird having to expand upon that. (As an aside: do I always succeed? No, but it wouldn't be a goal of mine if it was something I always succeeded at.)
* Public praise -- the unchecked public praise here is, in my view, dangerous. It promotes poor books based on good ideas, encourages the next set of authors to make books based on the limited praise they've seen in the last run, and overall is the biggest hurdle in this being an insular, incestuous, dwindling community.
* Not unwelcome -- as I said in another thread and as the first point here, such comments have felt unwelcome in this community, even civilly and for the hope of helping the community as a whole.
* Published, sold products -- I'm not so concerned with products in development right now. I have given private feedback to those, because that's, in my view, where develop-level feedback goes. No, here I'm talking about products that have been published and are being sold to a public. I'll argue that, sure, a developer has a (weakly-enforcable) right to ask people not to post criticisms publicly. There is no way that someone who asks money for their work does, though. If a work becomes publicly consumable, so must its criticisms.
So, all of you talking about how harsh criticism is bad for design, how asshole, shotgun criticism as bad for the vibe, etc., sure, I get all that. It's also has zero to do with my point (though, I can't speak for Paul, Josh or Judson). Anyway, that's where I'm coming from. Shoot, I don't even see why said criticism has to be posted in full on this forum -- as long as the community can be made aware of it and it can be referenced here, just like any other gaming-related discussions.
It's not that those of us in the powwow at OrcCon feel like we've been screwed over here by people taking advantage of the good will of this community (though that is how some of us at least do feel), it's that we haven't felt like we've had a voice, like we'd just be shouting in the wind. For those of you who want to point out that, technically, we have had that this whole time, fine, sure, but keep in mind that the social elements of this community has affected each of us separately to buy into the idea that we didn't. So, are a dozen-plus individuals totally off-base, or is the community doing something to promote this vibe? I believe it's the latter, and that's what I'd like to help correct with the (sigh) New New Honesty.