If Gnome doesn't have the resources to do proper UX design, the answer is NOT to force incomplete/broken UX on users. It's to leave options open for others to fix the UX as needed.
Design is about making choices, but if you don't have the resources to find/make the best choice at least allow the end user to make the choice they prefer instead.
What I find amusing though, is that even OSX allows more customization than Unity/Gnome. In OSX I can turn off backlight dimming on battery, I can move the dock to different sides of the screen (essential for multi-monitor setups), and I can also tweak other things via plists. There is also more than one screensaver.
Your goal should never be to innovate, it should be to improve. Yes, you improve by innovating but you should remember the goal is to improve, not make something new for new's sake.
Also it is no wonder they are understaffed, they are alienating their user base which is from where they get their developers...