1script - 5:43 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)
I don't believe -950 was ever considered manual. There were different theories about it, starting years ago with duplicate content (is this still an issue?) and now I don't even begin to comprehend what other infractions it may be handed over (bad choice of word? Automatically "handed") for. There's soup of various site ills that seem to reinforce each other and when this positive feedback loop gets to its highest value, just before an actual manual action happens, you get pushed to the very end. Automatically. I think we can call it pre-manual penalty err.. action.
I think Google has automated many demotions that we previously considered manual.
It may not technically be a manual action but it's designed to feel like one - basically, it's designed to give you an effect of a manual action without wasting precious human time on actually giving you a manual action. Hope this makes sense.
Call me crazy, but it sometimes seems like it's easier to break some straghtforward but reversible rule (badly KW stuff ALL your pages, style it to be white on white, cloak, that sort of thing) to tip the 950 into becoming a real manual action. Then remove the bad code and submit an RR.