I'm not sure what Campfire you're talking about.
I'm building a product with Ember that exists because I am putting a very real amount of time and capital into it. So I speak very practically of real matters that I find come up as an Ember beginner. My position is that as a user of the Framework, I try to report things I don't understand or don't make sense in the hopes that it filters into the conclave and changes happen that make it easier for people to get started and be successful, beyond the case where you're building a ToDo app.
The inclusions of em-data in the Ember Guides gives it a legitimacy that is unwarranted at this stage, by virtue of the fact that Ember itself is close to 1.0 and from what I can see em-data is a long, long way from being close to a 1.0
For example, I tried to use em-data, after seeing that the Model section now recommended it. I couldn't get it to work when I went past trying to either load all records or none, or load a record with a subset of its hasMany relationship, couldn't find any materials to help understand the process or the reasoning for what should happen, asked an official core member of the Ember team, was told to look into using findQuery, which has been made private in a previous release.
As @pwagenet said, I'm sure em-data will be a core part of major applications when it is ready. At the moment it just creates a confusing headache that can end up wasting a lot of time, and I wouldn't be surprised if people completely new to Ember just stopped at that part of the Guides and wrote it off completely. I certainly briefly suffered a buyer's remorse at that point.
While the long range academic questions about what should happen, and what the preferred protocol should be are real and should be thought about and discussed, the Ember team needs to be aware of the fact that there is a very real hole and stumbling block in the public Guides that is causing real trouble. People need to be able to be successful today, not when em-data is ready, or when they've learned enough from trawling the internals.
I love Ember, and I think everyone's doing great things, and I evangelize it whenever I get a chance. But please think about this as a serious issues for new comers beyond being defensive about it or creating artificial blockers around documenting a non em-data strategy.
<3 <3 <3
P.S. If someone wants to work with me on my App and together figure out what the correct non em-data way is to handle the patterns I'm trying to use, I'm !more! than happy to write a guide that explains it.