I think the people favoring the reviewing of the frame-only vs a complete bike are actually just frustrated with reviewers' proclivity to spend too much time reviewing the parts vis-a-vis the frame - and I couldn't agree more. This site does a good job, but the subconscious frustration carries over.
Also, amen on the STA's. Instead of basing model differences solely on travel or wheel size, brands need to incorporate geometry. For example, 29er 140mm rear bikes with rolling-terrain geometry and wench-and-plummet geometry are completely different bikes. But, will probably be a long time before we see this in the marketplace because, as a group, we're not informed enough to support this sort of offering.