Today alone there were 2 different posts by Mint/Gnome 3 newcomers on the official Mint forum confused by how you (completely) change window theme in Mint 12. They take for granted that the "window theme" option is what should change appearance of windows, and they have semantics on their side. Rather than inherit untouched the confusing theme handling in Advanced Settings, I suggest theme selection is made as easy or at least nearly as easy as it was in Gnome 2.
In Gnome 2
In gnome 2 you had both options.
Personally I don't see the need to dumb it down more .
I don't remember that? The window theme and gtk theme options were built-in as customisation options within the theme selection. E.g. select "Dust Sand" and there was a controls tab, icon tab, font tab etc.
Obviously there is a need to "dumb" it down with so many users getting confused.
Your right about it being hidden in gnome 2.
There's definitely room for improvement on this, but I'm afraid we'd need to modify the way Nautilus/Gnome work to achieve something good here. I'm closing the issue for now as I don't see enough here to improve the situation on short/middle term.
I am one of the confused people! Is there something wrong with my setup when changing Window theme has absolutely no effect? I have 30+ to choose from, but they all look exactly the same!
You have to refresh Cinnamon, and if that doesn't help you probably have the same bug as me where the window theme is stuck on a fallback.
BTW, SolusOS has greatly improved Gnome 3 theme management, it's certainly doable. I still don't understand why "window theme" has to be as far away as possible from "gtk theme" since they belong together, it makes no sense and at least pairing them is a simple obvious short term improvement that would meet confused non-geeks half-way.