aristotle - 10:20 pm on Aug 8, 2013 (gmt 0)
Yes, I get your points, but I still believe that Google gives special treatment and consideration to people with manual penalties. To show what I mean, consider these two cases:
Case 1. Webmaster spends thousands of dollars buying high PR backlinks even though he or she knows that it's a violation of Google's guidelines. Eventually the webspam team discovers it and imposes a manual penalty, but communicates that the penalty will be lifted if the purchased backlinks are removed.
Case 2. Webmaster has a very informative and user-friendly website about antique widgets. For years most of the articles rank at or near the top of Google's search results for their particular topic. Then suddenly overnight these articles are outranked by hundreds of pages from other sites, the vast majority of which have little or no information about the relevant topic. The webmaster spends months (or even years) trying to figure out why hundreds of virtually worthless pages rank above his or her very informative and highly relevant articles.
In my opinion, this is unfair. Either the backlink buyer shouldn't be given such an easy path to a recovery, or the webmaster whose site has an algorithmic penalty should be told why hundreds of virtually worthless pages rank above his or her very informative pages.
Why can't the algorithm itself auto-generate a message pointing out the reason(s) for a site's low rankings?