A response to entry:
"This doesn't suck completely but it needs more work than I'm willing to chaperone. This is a form rejection cause I think you're at least three to five drafts away from ready. I'm not signing up to read that many drafts and encouraging words tend to create pen pals."
If a given manuscript needs a few more drafts and is not worth more of your time, wouldn't it behoove you to tell the writer exactly that in a real-life rejection letter? Rather than regurgitating the vague "I am unable to represent you at this time" or "isn't quite what I'm
looking for" responses, wouldn't a SPECIFIC reason help to avoid the "pen pal" syndrome? Seems it would save you AND the author precious time.
(And no, I'm not a frustrated writer. Merely a layman who recognizes a whine blog when he sees one. Are you as honest with those seeking your representation outside the blogosphere? Perhaps you should be. Lest we forget, the end is a pound of their flesh and food on your table.)
Leaving aside the last paragraph for the moment, why would you think spending time on critiques, and reading the same pages five or six times, is going to save ME time?
If you think writing "a specific response" is fast or easy, you are a nitwit. And no, of course I don't give honest responses to query letters. 'This is a mess' isn't an appropriate response to someone even when it's true. That's exactly why I run this blog and the crapometer.
It took 37 hours to run 100 letters through the crapometer. I get 100 letters a week at my agency. I'm not paid by the hour. I'm not paid to help you. I'm not paid to be your writing coach and I'm sure as hell not paid to be nice to you.
If you think that is whining, so be it. You're not the first person who doesn't understand much about how this industry works.