When I was a Ubuntu user, I put in a lot of time to learn Gnome2's ins and outs so that I could customize my desktop to perfection. Now that Gnome2 is gone, customizing any DE other than MATE to my satisfaction would take up so much time that it would put a serious strain on my marriage
Except for having to learn some new names for the forked applications (gedit -> pluma, nautilus -> caja, gnome-terminal -> mate-terminal, eye of gnome -> eye of mate, etc.), I can't tell the difference between MATE and Gnome2. There are no stability or speed issues on any of the laptops I have LM13-MATE 64-bit installed on (Dell XPS15, Thinkpad T520, and Sony Vaio so far--I'm working on converting some other relatives to LM13-MATE to make my life easier, so this list will hopefully grow soon).
MATE is the reason I came to Linux Mint. MATE saves me time and keeps the wife happy. MATE allowed me to recreate the look and functionality of my perfect Gnome2 desktop with ease. I'm the IT guy in my family and circle of friends and, as long as Linux Mint supports MATE, Linux Mint will remain our one and only distro.