I think that this is partly the result of a couple of inconsistencies in the FLOSS/Linux distribution model. Distributions can't decide whether they want to be packagers or downstream developers and end up distributing massively patched pieces of software. And they try to cater to users who want a stable distribution with long-term support, but who still want Chromium and Firefox (probably many even want the latest versions). Nothing wrong with that of course, no one is asking humans to be robotically consistent and logical, but you have to decide where to stop. And it sounds like Debian is moving that way too.
It would be lovely to see a more tiered distribution, with a base set of packages for which the upstream is known to be reliable at maintaining stable releases and quick to apply patches from downstream (that way distributions can patch upstream directly and adopt new bug-fix releases faster in the knowledge that upstream is not likely to put silly things into them) and other packages sorted according to how reliable upstream is known to be, but still adopting upstream's bug-fix releases reasonably fast (or new major releases for more difficult cases like Firefox and Chromium). Then the user can make their own informed choices as to what they install.
I think that my other dream would be for the packaging to be maintained upstream as well (though probably by distribution people), so that when a new version is to be pulled in, distributions can just examine changes and build.