I partly agree that change is good, BUT the changes should NOT be made in the mainstream version of a software until the users want that!!! If for example the Gnome 3 version had a quick way to make itself like Gnome 2 then there would be little critisism and we would not have fragmented the developers or users among Gnome3, Gnome2, Mate, and so on - even Unity would maybe not have existed had there been a fallback while Gnome3 was polished... Change is good but not when forced. The result is then as seen a self inflicted fragmentation of the user/developer groups who feels they got run over. Then again - who knows what the end result will become - maybe Mate/Unity unlike Gnome dont have such a rigid stance against using good ideas made in for example KDE and we end up with a new desktop again that integrate the best of all worlds?
Personally I think all the desktop environments should only provide a flavor of the underlaying functions that should be shared among all (KDE, Unity, Gnome, LXDE, XFCE,.... the list goes on). I am talking about things like Search functionality, copy-paste between applications, file managers - why should KDE and Gnome use different code for this? Not to say that alternative options for how to search content in files, mail, calendars etc is pointless, however I do not see why they should be desktop specific? Why not make Dolphin, Nautilus, and so on desktop independent and let the user choose what is best for them?
Again - keep in mind that not all people have time to learn a "better" workbench layout every now and then - give them time to try when the time is right for them to try.