A few months ago one of my hubs went into idle and since that time several of my short hubs have transferred to idle.
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Doesn't the fix you outlined: change one word, prove how pointless this Idled / Featured Hub thing is? All it takes to make a Hub worth featuring again is changing one word? It's about popularity of Hubs rather than quality. That's what I've seen
Okay, then this must be why 85,652 hubbers have told the hub pages goodbye just since August 2011.
Goody - your hub about this, overall, is great. But the quick fix raises a problem. Making a small change reactivates the hub temporarily. But do that too much, and all of your hubs may drop in Google rating.
It appears to have everything to do with traffic, which strikes me as being unfair. I have well written hubs that get idled because they are about obscure topics, and other popular hubs of the same quality that never get idled.