Google has improved their mode of communication with webmasters with regards to both manual and automated penalties.
What Has Changed?
In its attempt to make reconsideration requests more transparent, Google will respond to your appeals clearly. It will tell you whether your site was affected by a manual spam action or not. And it will also tell you if they revoked the penalty post your reconsideration request. If the news is not good for you, or in other words if your site is still in violation of the Google guidelines, then that too will be relayed to you. And if your site is back in form and the penalty is lifted, then that too will be conveyed to you.
In the other scenario, that your site gets affected by an automated ranking downgrade courtesy the Google’s algorithms. Then you have to sit back, as Google will not do anything on its part. If you improve the site, the ranking will automatically improve. This is what Google said, “your site isn’t being ranked highly by our algorithms, in which case our systems will respond to improvements on the site as changes are made, without your needing to submit a reconsideration request. Or maybe your site has access issues that are preventing Googlebot from crawling and indexing it.”
What This Means?
In the past, if your site went down, all you could do was submit reconsideration requests; got a reply from Google that they had received those requests. But now things are better. You know if your received manual penalty of not and whether your reconsideration appeal reached or not. The search engine has assured of further improvements in the future.