Worth noting... In 2008, I had what I felt was a unique problem, thought I was more deserving than others, and requested a manual review with special considerations. In addition to the online request, I spent a few hours Googling, and got both the work and personal email addresses of Matt Cutts, to send it to him also. (I know, probably not a great decision)
Not only was my request answered promptly, I also got a somewhat personal email from a gent named Mur V. a Product Manager that worked directly with Matt at the time. He mentioned enough personal info about both myself and the site in question that I knew it was not canned, but he also sent the same type of canned reply with links to Google guidelines, reconsideration request guide, etc.
The point... even when you get personal replies, the answers are the same and always under the guide of obfuscation. [en.wikipedia.org...] Incidentally, I never used the word much before reading Google guidelines and having to understand its meaning very clearly! :-)