Been a while since I posted on this forum, although I've been using Mint since Mint 3 and - apart from a brief affair with Mandriva that ended badly - have been using Mint ever since. Felt I'd like to contribute some feedback here, for what it's worth.
First off, thank you so much for dropping Gnome 3. It's unstable, bloated and, while providing loads of options, is still pretty confusing to navigate. This is why I found MGSE a confusing concept - it seemed like an almost purely cosmetic sheen added to Gnome 3 without streamlining it but actually adding more to it. MATE in Mint 12 was fine, but I found my CPUs running really high when I used it. Eventually, I went with LXDE and quite enjoyed it.
Now, I shed no tears for the departure of LXDE from Mint's official DE's. Although I didn't take part, I think the poll was a great idea in terms of getting to know what it is the community wants. XFCE is a bit too flimsy for me, though, so I gave both Cinnamon and MATE for Mint 13 test runs.
Cinnamon has a great look, runs fast and sleek, and has a lot of nice features. Unfortunately, having to restart X in order to see, let alone engage, even minor desktop changes like changing the panel position is pretty much a non-starter for me. I love to spend time tweaking the look of my machine. Having to restart it, over and over, to see what these changes might look like, change them back or into something else if I don't care for them, seems like a collosal waste of time. It's a shame, too, because please don't get me wrong here - I think Cinnamon looks great, and just might end up rivalling MATE, but at the moment it's just too bloated and impractical for me. Having said that, I have complete faith the Mint Team are going to do great things with this DE, so I'll be having my eye on it.
I'm currently using Mint 13 MATE. Love it. This is an actual improvement of Gnome 2.X - it has all the features I love, the added features are intuitive to navigate and improve the experience, it's stable and fast, and it looks great. And of course, Mint 13's entire system continues to improve upon its predecessors.
Anyway, just my two cents. Thanks again for your efforts, guys, and keep up the great work!