Randomessa has a good account of Warhammer Online’s pre-release comments on public quests, which were entirely borne out. The public quests are more or less as advertised. You might dispute design decisions like the quick resets and having influence bars to fill (is that grind or rewarding repeatability?), but most PQ issues came from how other systems interacted with them. The main problem was population-based: you could not get past the first stage once the population lump moved past you, nor in PQs off the beaten path.
But does anyone really think that public quests are not good? When conditions are right for them to work, they work well. When conditions are not right, they limp along better than much non-instanced solo MMO content. They encourage socialization and teamwork. If you did not like particular PQs, fine. If you think the whole game is broken, fine, but this part works.
Steal this feature. Champions Online slots a PQ into the tutorial zone. If Guild Wars 2 and Rift are offering PQ 2.0, that will be an improvement from the current quest hub model (conditional on successful implementation). Are we just trying to rein in expectations about how awesome or revolutionary this is going to be, back to “good”?
Even if it is just putting sprinkles on ice cream, I like both sprinkles and ice cream, and that other place does not have ice cream on its dessert menu.