I'm all for basic and streamlined defaults. And this necessarily goes for default applications. VLC is too much baggage claim at the airport to be considered a good default. And if there was a time when it was justifiable to include it as a default, today multimedia support in Linux is so rich, VLC can no longer claim that it alone supports multiple formats, is lightweight, or any other similar thing, without facing the fact it has to compete with other (and in some people opinion, far better) solutions.
Let me reaffirm this: I am for basic and streamlined defaults. And VLC is no such thing. From an user perspective, on an operating system such as Linux, I could say I shouldn't need to care much with what comes pre-installed. It is, after all, always exciting to install our own software and get rid of what we don't want. But that isn't the entire truth. Certain software development practices can affect a distro in more subliminal ways. VLC development isn't stable, being composed of essentially two code bases (the core player and library and the ever exceedingly complex GUI) and repeatedly plagued by bugs, some more serious than others, which affect user experience. Distro maintenance suffers from those flaws too, because even if problems can only be fixed upstream, they invariably demand resources to be pulled by everyone, from package maintainers to quality assurance, support teams and even the distro advocates to ease the complications being experienced by users. Just recently we had a serious security related bug tied to VLC, a program that some stubborn people keep considering a staple of any Linux distribution.
There are alternatives, superior to VLC that need to be considered in a more serious manner by Ubuntu MATE team than a simple poll of what we the users want. Because the matter of fact is that what users want is not necessarily what's best for them. Or for the distro. I don't say this to call users ignorant (although I'll be the first to admit I am ignorant on many things Linux), I say this because users develop habits and practices that aren't compatible with a distro that wishes to remain stable and problem free. If you make a poll about users wanting to have PlayOnLinux pre-installed, regardless of the result, you'd know with a good enough number of participation, you'd get a very large number of people saying "Yes", and the headache that would be for the next version to include it.
So, I do fell this poll has already trapped itself into a corner by the simple fact it is asking the general population if they wish to use something else other than the most popular thing. What exactly did you expect to learn? These type of decisions should instead be made by the team while weighing more important contests than popularity. Not everything that is done behind closed doors is a sign of lack of caring for the userbase. And be damned those who think it is. They clearly never managed a project.
I'm voting for GNOME MPV for the frankly much, much, superior stable code and release cycles it offers, without losing anything to the feature set of VLC. And the benefits all that brings to Ubuntu MATE the distro and its teams. If I'm a user I can then install VLC if I so wish. To be clear I would in fact be uninstalling it partially, since I am a MPV user, but I prefer another player to GNOME's. Another excellent alternative, for the exact same reasons, is the QtAV running QMLPLayer. I'm not considering Totem because its close integration with the Gnome Shell worries me of future developments that can make it harder to maintain on different DEs with less features or significant differences in presentation, that end up making users compare "their" Totem on Ubuntu MATE and the Totem "others" are using on Gnome Shell. Truth be told I deposit very little confidence on the GNOME development team.
Sorry for the long post. As Blaise Pascal once said, I didn't have the time to make it shorter.