Honestly, you'd think they'd want to make it easy to move data from Linux to Windows, but right now it's only easy going the opposite direction.
Electricity was first useful for nothing more than cheap tricks (Ben Franklin trying to electrocute a turkey in front of an audience, etc).
Atomic research was first thought to be interesting, but of no practical value (we'd never be able to split or fuse them, etc).
Are you seeing a pattern yet?
Another nasty variation is that they come with some religion that has a series of logical arguments that can pretty much convince anyone who doesn't have a PhD in rhetoric. So they come along drop off their book of faith and leave.
How is that a bad result? If they arrive, drop off a set of supremely-convincing beliefs, and leave, the only result is that everyone now has the same religion. Everyone having the same religion means no more religious conflicts. As long as the religion isn't "sacrifice your lives for your alien overlords", I'd say it'd be a positive outcome.
If I were in their shoes, I'd simply change course, post a public apology, announce Gnome 4 and bring back everything that users are missing. That should give them enough support to stay alive. I'm sure there is still time for them. But as I said before, I don't think they even care so let them die.
Or, hell, just add back most of the configuration options they removed from the system. I know a blank screen is trendy nowadays but sometimes I just want to look at a screensaver, y'know?
XFCE, last I used it, was good but just slightly too different in its behavior to be a good first step into Linux for traditional Windows XP users.