We'll know more about the unstated criteria that Cryptic used to judge the entries in this contest (in addition to the four stated criteria) once they release the runner-up entries.
But I think we can already see something interesting in Thalasi's winning entry. Read it closely -- do you notice how there's really very little there that's specific to Star Trek?
One of the virtues of Thalasi's entry is that someone who's new to Star Trek could read that, whether as a work of creative writing or a contest entry or even as an actual bit of content in Star Trek Online, and not be left shaking their head wondering what the heck's going on. There's no "treknobabble" at all.
Which means that it's a lot more welcoming to a broad audience than a piece that uses a lot of the technical jargon that a hardcore fan of Star Trek would be familiar with and enjoy.
Again, once the runner-up entries are released we'll see whether that was really something important to those who judged this contest's entries, or if I'm using one data point to perceive a pattern that's not really there.
In the meantime, just something to think about. Congratulations, Thalasi!
Congratulations on the win. Of course I'm a little dissapointed that mine didn't win, but that takes nothing away from a well told morality tale. Nice tie in with Trek philosophy and Starfleet Academy.