Didn't realize that my Five Minute Rant would have quite so much interest.
I wrote that after receiving a number of meaningless rejections. The old Hot and Cold game occurred to me as a - tongue in cheek - option for rejection standardization.
YM Pang brought up its resemblance to the currently offered tiered rejections. Yes, tiered rejections do exist. There are generally three tiers, the lowest of which thanks the author for submitting, and regrets that the manuscript isn't what the publication is looking for.
Second tier rejections offer regrets but mention one or two extras. 1 - The author is wished good luck finding a publisher for the story. 2 - The editor looks forward to seeing more work from the author. There is no rank order to these extras that I am aware of, and sometimes they are both given.
Despite often having the title of my manuscript in the body of the text, I do not believe that the first two tiers are personal, but are form letters.
Third tier rejections, so I gather, let the author know that the manuscript has been passed to a real editor before regrets. Again, from what I gather, these rejections can include a personal note from the editor.
If you really need to know what you've got on your hands, try the Rejection Wiki here: http://www.rejectionwiki.com/index.php?title=Main_Page
omg this is great! Why am I just now seeing this.
I am grateful to you for this post.
Well I'm hoping that site is at least accurate on the F&SF tiers. It will make me feel better about that collection of rejections at the very least
v36 Q1, Q3 - HM; Q4 - R
v37 Q1 - R; Q2 - SHM; Q4 - HM
v38 Q1 - HM; Q2 -SHM; Q3 - P