Well, it can be rather tricky to find out which conf-file does what, if you don't already know. If you don't know the key-name, section-name, or possible values, it's not easily discoverable.
BTW, In gnome, the easiest way to derive the changes is this:
1. Start with a clean distro installation.
2. Dump all the gconf keys.
3. Change lots of things to taste, within the GUI.
4. Dump all the gconf keys.
5. Use diff to discover the changes, and generate a script that will make these changes the next time.