Okay, so I'm trying to answer this one again by looking at the Story Mind and not just the characters. This is all going to be pretty basic, and can be found in several articles all over the various Dramatica-related websites, but a lot of my GATHERED INFORMATION is just starting to be UNDERSTOOD in a more practical sense, I think.
From the perspective of a Story Mind, you have a series of elements at rest. When the Story Mind starts to put pressure on one of those elements over another, it creates an inequity. Unequal pressure. Too much of one, not enough of another. Within the story, this looks like a problem for the characters (even if the characters themselves are unaware of it).
Jim's analysis of Dunkirk provides a good example of this.
British sailors evacuate and situate themselves on top of the floating hull. Safe and sound, they await rescue…until the Heinkel comes around for another pass.
When the British sailors are on top of the floating hull, they are safe and sound, Story Mind at rest. But when the Heinkel comes around, the Story Mind starts putting too much pressure on Potentiality
Driven by the potential of the bomber unleashing another successful volley, the sailors leap into the sea only to discover another, far greater problem: oil leaking from their ship. The British Spitfire swoops in, disables the Heinkel, and sends the burning bomber plunging straight into the oil spill. The sea ignites in a fury of flame, killing many of the sailors who sought the ocean for safety.
The foundation of meaning within this sequence rests on this Problem of Potentiality. The potential of being killed drives the sailors into a far more disastrous situation. Had they remained on the overturned minesweeper and relied on the Certainty that the Spitfire would save the day, they would all be alive.
So the Story Mind putting too much pressure on Potentiality means not enough pressure on Certainty and the Story Mind sees the inequity. Within the story of Dunkirk this looks like the sailors diving into the water rather than staying atop the hull. Too much pressure on Potentiality has upset the Story Mind. This extra pressure causes the players that represent Potentiality to put themselves into a bad position where an equal amount of pressure on Potentiality and Certainty would have had the sailors sitting on the hull and watching as the Heinkel is destroyed and they are saved. Had the Story Mind relied too heavily on Certainty, then the sailors would presumably have stayed on the floating hull only to watch the Spitfire fail to disable the Heinkel and then themselves be attacked.
Looking at it that way, what makes something a problem from the theoretical side (within Dramatica) is when a perspective representing a specific part of the the Story Mind begins to exert too much or too little pressure on one of the traits it represents. From the practical side (within the story) this looks like the characters, or story players, being affected by and reacting to that unequal pressure.
So to make something a problem within a story, you have to show how too much or little pressure is placed on one element such that more or less pressure on it's dynamic opposite is needed to restore balance. Once you have shown that, you have created a narrative problem.
Something else i notice while looking at problems in the Story Mind and not in the story itself from the characters point of view is that it gets around thinks like "But what if the character didn't care about this problem?" or "it's a problem for the character, but they don't know it, only the author does," because, whether the character cares or not or whether the characters know there's a problem or not, the Story Mind does care and does know there's an inequity. So it's not a problem because the author knows it is or the characters care about it, but it's a problem because the Story Mind knows it is and cares about it.
I don't know if any of that was clear to anyone else (or too basic), but when I thought of it like that it seemed to clear up in my mind.