When Gnome 3 came out, I decided to give it a try. It was truly bad at first, but the extensions got better and I actually liked it, for a while. But the devs kept making it harder and harder to build my own flavor of gnome-shell. Gnome 3.22 was the straw that broke the camel's back. I had to start using patches from Linux from Scratch to build nautilus without the tracker dependency. After reading how the gnome devs completely ignored the LfS request to add their patch upstream, I finally realized how much time I was wasting making gnome-shell useful to me.
Switching to Mate was like going home after the worst vacation ever! Things just work, and it's snappier to boot. Since I run a conky panel with hidden panels, I can't tell the difference while working. I'm still trying to figure out what the gnome devs thought was wrong with Gnome 2!