Essentially, Torvald says that a lot of people on the forums are complaining about "having 'nothing to do' and the sense of being forced to spend all your time in garrisons doing garrison chores." But this isn't actually true, as he goes on to list the many, many activities available in current WoW. And he's right. Objectively, there are more activities available in Warlords than in any of the past versions.
So what then accounts for the general feeling of malaise? Torvald theorizes that the first few minutes of gaming session set the tone for the remainder of the session. Spending the first 15 minutes when you log in on garrison maintenance drains the player of energy, and that pushes them to log out instead of continuing on with a more fun activity.
So why then do players insist on doing those chores first? Torvald offers this explanation:
People hate the sense that a reward dangled right in front of them will be lost permanently if they fail to act. The Garrison chores are a perfect example of this. Anytime you fail to act, you give up a reward. The reward is sitting right in front of you, requiring you to do nothing more than interact with it to pick it up (mine nodes, herb garden, work orders). The more accessible a reward is to your initial log-in point, the more you will feel like the "right" way to play is to engage with it. Not doing the task to get the reward makes you feel like you're stupidly giving up a gain, and no one likes to feel as if they're playing the game "wrong." So you feel compelled mentally to engage that content. [Emphasis mine.]He offers some suggestions about how WoW can go about remedying this. The post is a lot longer that what I've summarized, and contains some other interesting ideas. It's worth reading.
I think that in a lot of ways Torvald is right. I don't play WoW often these days, but whenever I do play, I ignore my garrison completely and jump straight into whatever activity I really want to do.