what they could have done was not had GNOME 3 as an option or had them as exclusive options.
And that would create a massive mess of dependencies in weirdest places, along with a burden of supporting software that can not even be built and tested while some other software is installed, thanks to name conflicts. No, after this kind of sabotage by the original developers, the code is for all practical purposes dead.
Gentoo actually supports old packages (or at least did for a long time), however dependencies and lack of active development make it at best suitable for transition. The problem is, there is nothing to move to in the first place, new versions of GNOME are not going to be usable for the foreseeable future.