I think the best counterargument to the thesis that org-mode should set defaults for noob legibility is that vanilla Emacs is hopelessly forbidding, and therefore non-techie noobs must start with a distribution or drown.

Unfortunately, starting with a distro without prior knowledge of Emacs increases complexity, because one must learn the distro, the underlying Emacs and how they differ. For example, the Spacemacs manual is bewildering to a noob. The last thing he wants is to learn Vim on top of everything else.

It's much easier to learn the basic concepts by following tutorials on vanilla Emacs, such as the book Mastering Emacs, or even the Emacs manual.

If Org is sufficiently user-friendly out of the box to let noobs do something useful while in this tutorial stage, they're more likely to adhere long enough to adopt a distribution. The cost of adopting a distribution is that it increases the distance between one's own configuration and the majority of Emacs documentation.

Distributions have the noob-friendly defaults and vanilla has the noob-friendly documentation. Seems there's no way for a noob to win. I certainly didn't find one. My learning curve was a nightmarish transition from vanilla Emacs on Windows (shudder) to eventually Spacemacs on MacOS (smile).

The real problem is that there's no Ubuntu Canonical offering paid Emacs tech support to noobs. Ok, I just found this barely-maintained page:
https://www.fsf.org/resources/service/
But it's something one would resort to after exhausting the free crowdsourced options. Hiring a consultant is B2B, not a B2C noob-friendly solution. By contrast, when I websearch for Linux tech support, I get consumer-friendly ads.

I guess there's no Emacs B2C tech support because there's no demand. I see supply from the consultants. So that suggests vanilla Emacs, specifically Org, should set noob-friendly defaults to increase demand for B2C tech support. I bet the Emacs community is bursting at the seams with expertise supply, with nigh zero demand. The obvious implication is that the barrier to entry is too high.

It's not like Emacs is more complicated than Linux. And Emacs transcends its competition by much more than Linux does. The difference is that Linux tries to appeal to nontechnical consumers and Emacs doesn't. Which is fine for an IDE, but not for a PIM (Personal Info Manager).

I'm not saying go full Evernote. (Never go full Evernote.) But stuff like paragraph navigation shouldn't be a battle, or else they'll go back to MS Word with relief and a newfound tolerance for suggestive paperclips.