(Hehe, I almost wrote "death in the slush pile" while typing the above title ... that might just be a more interesting, though macabre post.)
Check out this essay posted on the web last month. It suggests killing the slush pile and moving on to something better. Then in the comments, editors freaked out. The writer calmly pointed out that no writers had freaked out over his response. To oblige, I will now, as a writer, freak out:
The proposed killing of the slush pile involves writers posting their work online and editors sifting through the internet's slush rather than the slush of a specific magazine (I'm badly paraphrasing here, so read the link before taking me at my word or slaming me). As a writer I now control who gets to look at my work -- that is, I get to control which editors and which magazines have the opportunity to print it. If my work is up on the internet just waiting for an editor to come along and scoop it up, then how am I to know that Podunk Magazine's offer is really the one I should take? The New Yorker hasn't made me an offer. Would they? At least with the slush pile system I am able to know with certainty that The New Yorker won't publish my story because I offered them the chance and they sent me a terse rejection note.
Besides, if we killed the slush, then we'd be killing SlushPile Hell.