Well, "qualitative" is not necessarily a bad word. It just means that we care about the "quality" as much as the "quantity." If a jump is underrotated, that's bad quality. (It's also lacking in "quantity -- only 1000 degrees of revolution instead of 1080.)
I guess that's the rationale for downgrading (insufficient quantity) and giving a negative GOE (bad quality).
To me, it is not easy to balance all this out. But I am not really complaining. This tension between quantity and qualitity, sport and art, first mark and second -- that, IMHO, is what makes figure skating unique among athletic endeavors.
Unlike other sports, there is no "win ugly" in figure skating. (Just my opinion, of course.)