An untenured philosopher writes
In the course of talking with each other about our experiences with journals, a few other junior faculty members and I have noticed the following happening to each of us a few times: after e-mailing the editor asking about the status of a submission, we then receive, within a very short period of time (e.g. 24 hours) a rejection based on no referee reports, or only one. In a number of these cases, the author knew that more referees had been asked (e.g. in response to a previous inquiry the editor indicated that they were waiting on a second referee). Question for journal editors (particularly top-4 journals, the source of all of these anecdotes): does it ever happen that a paper is rejected as a result of a status inquiry? Some of my friends are now refraining from asking about the status of a paper out of a concern that doing so may increase the chances of immediate rejection. Can journal editors speak to this? Is it advisable for authors to refrain from making such inquiries, if their goal is to maximize the chances of ultimate acceptance?
Readers? Signed comments preferred, especially from any journal editors who care to comment.