I totally 100% agree with everything you just said.
Look at how Linus changed Linux 2.6 into Linux 3.0. It was no different than any other release. There was absolutely *no* wiz bang features to merit a 3.0 (except that ftrace function tracing was redesigned and now works with modules :-).
I've been using Linux since 1996, and played around with fvwm at first, and I forgot when I started using gnome. I liked it at the time. IIRC, when gnome 2 came out, it was radically different too, and lots of things broke. I may have switched away from gnome 2 at that time, but things were not as developed back then so radically different wasn't as different as things are today.
When gnome 2 settled down (and brought back a lot of features that it removed), I started using it again and its taken me 10 years to perfect a workflow. I've tried many, and what I ended up with was something that works great for me. Actually, I really only use gnome panel, as I've dumped metacity the first day it came out. I'm a sawfish lover, and when that is hard to install, I've actually liked xfwm4 (I've started using that in the last year).
Last week I did an update to my main box (debian/testing) and it blew away gnome2 and installed gnome3. The gnome-panel has none of the functionality I've come to depend on. My 10 years of perfecting a workflow just went out the window. I bitched like hell, and the only thing that I hear from the damn gnome3 lovers is "oh, its better if you do it this way". BULLSHIT! I've spent 10 years perfecting something to get my work done and I'm not about to change everything just because people like eye candy.
gnome is just a platform to get work done. If I notice it, then it's broken. The same goes with kernels and computers in general. You should not be focusing on the platform that you are working on, you should be focusing on your work. The platform is the tool for your work, not the work itself.
This is the heart of the problem with gnome3 developers. They are focused so much on gnome being the end product, and force users to do it their way.
The reason I started using Linux in the first place is because it let me control the computer, unlike Windows and Apple which make the computer control you. I have a strong feeling that gnome is trying to control me and trying hard to keep me from controlling gnome. This is why I'm so pissed off, and yes, I have started setting up my desktop with Xfce.