THANKS! for the feedback. KEEP IT COMING!!! I'll post this internally, and make sure to mention Craig "The API Wizard" McClanahan .
Funny you should mention issue #2 as I was just conversing with Craig about it...
You can use the self.ref property in most of the V3 API calls. If you want the ID, the wizard speaks:
(You actually get a list back because you can request more than one type+id pair).
The same thing works for places:
The disadvantage is that you have to know Jive's object type values, but this was primarily added to support our own development of the Jive UI, so that knowledge is already available.