BurningBridges, as much as I can understand your worries, I've had them too in the beginning. However, Steam really allows you to decide yourself which game updates what and when and how. Auto-Updates are merely an option, not a must. And Adveritsements I have not seen in eight years of using Steam, apart from the games, of course, but that's what Steam is for.
Of course not everything is gold and sunshine with Steam, but the issues have nothing to do with Automation.
If you want to give Steam a chance and enjoy the new Automation version with us today, I would offer you my assistance.