Skyrim and the Compass to Nowhere

The editors at GameRanx have penned an editorial on Skyrim's compass and journal, and how they supposedly negatively affect the player's playstyle. Here's a snip:
I would be happy to say that Skyrim was pushing me towards a different style of play and work in that direction, but the dysfunction of the game's quest/journal system has a far more negative impact than simply disrupting conventional role-playing forms. Simply put, there are two ways to play Skyrim:

'¢ You can play it as an explorer, delving into caves and seeing what the world has to offer; or,

'¢ You can play it as a competitor, attempting to succeed at whatever challenges the game offers.

Neither of these are (wrong), although I would suggest that the (explorer) option leads to the aspects which make Skyrim unique far more than the (competitor) model. The issue is that Skyrim doesn't allow for both models to be used at the same time.

The culprit is the journal system. When you are assigned a quest, it's added to your journal automatically. If it is set as active, an arrow is added to the map, as well as adding an arrow to the compass, both of which tell you exactly where it is. You activate the quest by selecting it from the journal. The journal is unspecific. Its words provide you with the bare minimum of information needed to know what the quest is, and not how or where to accomplish the quest.

The excessive reliance on quest markers was one of Skyrim's most annoying problems for me: what is the point of being able to turn off the arrow pointing to the objective when without it you're virtually unable to complete the quest?