almighty monkey, I agree with you on the fact that a chunk of backlinks have been removed for several pages.
I wasn't keeping track of the actual links I got but I know the overall numbers - no. of domains and total no. of links.I see a drop in these backlinks.It corresponds to the drop that I see in the SERPS. But I doubt that so many backlinks would have disappeared suddenly.I know for sure that many of these pages did not have links from article sites. They were genuine editorial links and genuine forum links from popular relevant forums.
Has google discounted a percentage of links based on this new quality score?
It does appear to have discounted genuine backlinks.Their quality algo has a long way to mature but they seem to have taken the approach of releasing it first and then working on it.
They are definitely having exception lists to this algo to make their SERPS look better.