I would qualify a lot of those as finished mockups in grey scale.
Agree. Most all of these are much too high fidelity. Staying in low fidelity keeps the conversation about exploring UX/features/functionality in context to the business problem and outcomes. When you essentially have black and white (or blue-grey if you're feeling trendy) high fidelity wires like this, it diminishes the value of having this as a step in the product design/development process.
Note this is not an attack on wireframes, just honest (perhaps naive) curiosity.
What would prevent these hi-fidelity wires from initiating the same conversation around UX/features/functionality? I know there are some potential distractions, but I think they can still be effective. To me, a wireframe is just a communication tool. There doesn't need to be hard rules about what can or cannot be included.
It's obviously more time consuming to produce anything at a higher fidelity, but I think there is some value in it. Using tools like Axure to just pull out components can constrain designs. You are stuck with only the components they provide, and sometimes the final visual design begins to look like a colored in wireframe.
If you're going to do low-fidelity, why not just use a white board or draw out a sketch on paper? I've found higher fidelity mockups (or better yet a prototypes) yield the most useful feedback from users and stakeholders.
It depends differently every time you go to make a deliverable. I agree, you should just make as useful a communication tool as you can as quickly as possible.
I think what people are pointing out with this article is that some of these wireframes are so close to a final visual design, that the designer may as well have just made that. For example, if you go to the dribbble page for the first wireframe in the article, the designer has a hi-fi mockup next to it that is basically the same thing with colors and some of the circles changed to actual icons. It seems like investing so much into the visual design of a wireframe loses the main benefit of creating it as opposed to just doing the visual design.
At the end of the day, all designers fall along a spectrum with how much aesthetics play into their earlier deliverables. People should just realize that part of the process is evaluating whether putting the level of polish seen on some of those wireframes may not be worth their time in any given project.
I'd add too that low-fidelity keeps the conversation about the function, flow, interaction and helps manage expectations.
I see a lot of visual treatment in the examples linked, if high-fidelity (very visual) wireframes get approved and you later decide to pivot the visual direction, you don't want it to be a surprise to your stakeholders.