The reason why GNOME is dropping all these features, why they are getting rid of customization options (changing wallpapers and such) and why they are constantly breaking API for themes is, because these idiots think it "hurts their brand" if people can decide how GNOME looks. No joke. They want GNOME to look the way THEY want for every installation, because I guess it's brand building or somesuch?
GNOME 3 designer Allan Day wrote, “Facilitating the unrestricted use of extensions and themes by end users seems contrary to the central tenets of the GNOME 3 design. We’ve fought long and hard to give GNOME 3 a consistent visual appearance… The point is that it decreases our brand presence… I really think that every GNOME install should have the same core look and feel.” [Fig 4] GNOME developer William Jon McCann concurs, “I agree with Allan. I am really concerned about this effort to encourage and sanction themes and extensions… The issue is not whether extensions may be useful. The issue is whether they will be harmful to our larger goals.”
These people should get a grip. If they seriously believe this, it's no wonder there are a zillion forks of GNOME - the GNOME devs have forgotten WHY they are developing their DE, and WHO they are developing it for... The developers are not rock stars and the users are not their "audience". We don't want a "product" with "consistent branding", we want a usable DE that lets us control how it works.