I see various people responding here that love it. I don't recognize them as GNOME developers. That it doesn't meet your way of working, unfortunate. Not perfect for everyone. Hopefully better in future.
But "alienates its users to the extent that very long time users jump ship in droves". There is no reliable data to support or determine this. And to be honest, the goal is to create a really usable desktop. I do see loads of reactions, but that is to be expected with such a big change.
Regarding data gathering: On slightly less technical websites I see GNOME 3 being confused with Unity. Not everyone understands the difference.