Crashes do tell us a story about how many users are using it and find it good and find it important enough to report bugs ...
crashes are usually automatically reported; but the Gnome 3 shell doesn't really crash - unless you monkey patch the internals via extensions, the lower levels are pretty much reliable, and the higher levels are written using a high level language that provides nicer error handling than a SIGSEGV at the worse possible time.
what you might see are the "fail whale" style errors, that says that something bad happened to the system (not necessarily a crash) and that the shell was unable to load. these are usually driver issues. yes, drivers tend to suck. yes, Gnome developers are actively helping out figuring out the drivers regressions and missing features and new bugs. it takes time, so for the time being there's a nice fallback user experience.
as for how many people use Gnome 3: only one major distribution has been shipping with Gnome 3; the others have (rightfully or not) decided to wait until a more stable release. the one that's coming in approximately 2 months. do I expect people to get over the whole 3.0 bruahaha? not really; though, having lived through the 1.x -> 2.x cycle I can honestly say that it'll happen.
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