I don't write critiques or personal rejections at the magazine, almost never. This is a policy because the few times I have, it's mostly come round and bit me in the ass. I hate that, too. I'm an avid critiquer. I love printing out my crit group's pages or when Stuart sends me his latest draft. I find it an honor to take that sort of part in others' writing. When I have time, I even crit for Critters.org and Crapometer, which is something, like praying and exercise, I should do more. Mostly it's out of time considerations. I've got a full day job of writing already and Electric Spec is only a small part of that. Copy and paste is quicker than typing, even if I am a quick typist.
This is different though. We ran a first page game at the blog and I've gotten more than a few of those first pages with the rest of the story attached. When it came to rejection, I had a decision to make. Do I go the personal rejection route or do I just send the standard note?
I went standard.
I'm not altogether proud of this decision, because I could have said in a sentence or two why I rejected the stories I did. That's usual for my slush--I make it a point to tell myself why I'm rejecting a story even if the author doesn't get to know. But a policy is a policy is a policy, and I've found little good comes from critique comments printed on Electric Spec letterhead.
So. Sorry if any hurt feelings ensue.