You are correct, Gnome isn’t really a fair comparison, other than the element of “deja vu”.
When I left Gnome, I went all the way to naked WMs…Openbox, until I learned Fluxbox and PekWM had tabbed windows, which was a super-efficient EUREKA discovery. But I found myself auto-starting elements of LXDE desktops as a “skin” for the naked WM and when I learned that PCManFM could manage the desktop, wallpaper, icons, AND allow for my right-click menu, choosing that right-click WM menu option allowed me to eliminate Nitrogen (wallpaper) and idesk (icons) as redundant programs, simplifying my system. At that point, I realized I could use LXDE as a desktop environment, with window manager of my choice; rather than *Box, with LXDE “skins”. This really simplified my *Box start-up scripts, as LXDE could manage the desktop session startup.
My degree of disappointment is that not only have I lost that, I can’t even go back to that if the functionality has been deprecated. I’m not your only user, so you’ve gotta do what you’ve got to do for the future of LXQt. But this really puts me in a tough spot, NOW. I knew that Openbox would be an issue with Wayland compatibility (and probably Fluxbox and PekWM as well), but I thought I had more time for that to get sorted out; and I believe that it will, as there are just too many Openbox users to leave it abandoned. But the time frame just got accelerated immensely and I’m now in a place where i have to solve the menu issue…quickly…or LXQt just won’t be viable for me.
I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet, but it’s a huge bummer. I’m frustrated with the situation, not you…