The original intent of the hold ring was “hold off for now”, to represent technologies that were too new to reasonably assess yet. We had in mind technologies that were getting lots of buzz but weren’t proven. The hold ring has evolved into our way of saying “don’t start anything new with this technology”. There’s no harm in using it on existing projects, but you should think twice about using this technology for new development. Hold is the closest we have to an avoid category, which Rebecca won’t let us have. But we’ve come to see great wisdom in that decision: true to the metaphor, your radar should be about things you are looking towards, not recriminations about the past.
I indeed changed the definitions (and even the layout) so that it fits to my needs (like Neal Ford says: "You can use our quadrants or create your own"). So my "Hold" is much more positive (green) like the original ToughtWorks one. But I see the point that it is a pitfall for misunderstanding and consider to change it in the future. Thanks for pointing this out!