The "have[ing] someone else to blame" argument does not hold water. You can have someone else to blame with Moodle. Just hire a Moodle Partner. The point is that you have a choice of who to blame.
Comparisons and advocacy
Unfortunately using a Moodle Partner is often like being stuck with a commercial LMS. A lot of the Moodle partners lock you down, so the smallest changes cost huge sums of cash. Except when certain things aren't working in Moodle, they avoid blame by blaming Moodle. Then they just put in a ticket which may get resolved within a couple of years... and the blame is completely off of the Moodle partner. Well, that is just my personal experience.
Another way of looking at this is we are talking around in circles. Also, even with the introduction of Moodle 2.x, things have essentially remained the same. What is this actually telling us?
Talking in circles about Moodle being customizable and supported by Moodle Partners? Problem here is its expensive to test and support customizations. Core can make Moodle more configurable, but each configuration option then needs to be tested. That moves the cost from Partners to Core, which is probably right, but then Core needs more testes and documentors, many more, do it right. In that scenario Moodle becomes more like Salesforce, very customizable application. Also very (very) expensive.
Or do you mean that priority be given to good UI/UE? The problem here is more solvable - and arguably a better use of resources - people will forgive a really pretty application that is fun to use for not doing everything - because they enjoy using the features it does have. See Instructure Canvas, for example. Its doubtful Core will bring on an architect and put them in charge of design (like the way great buildings and great commercial software are made, and Moodle will remain developer driven- maybe developers can learn to think like designers: http://kadavy.net/blog/posts/d4h-the-book/.
Barbara Ramiro may not be an architect, but Martin hired her over a year ago to work on the UI, and she is starting to have an impact.
There is other good work going on (driven by developers even ) for example MDL-30637.
P.S. I am pretty sure Forum NG has the "see/grade all a student's posts to this forum on one page" feature. At least, we ahve that for OU Wiki, and if we don't already have it for Forum NG, it is on the to-do list.