"I don't believe Google has ever said there is a quick recovery to these - so why do you think people believe that"
People believe that because you don’t inform them differently! you do not inform people that after they get a manual penalty revoked that they still have to wait up to a year to see the suppression inflicted by the manual penalty lifted. Its not a gradual thing. It happens when a refresh is run. This shows there is an actual penalty being lifted or it would not happen in one moment.
The connection between an algorithmic suppression and a manual penalty are strong until the refresh is run. You will unlikely recover from an unnatural links penalty without a refresh as said by John numerous times. Which means when the penalty is revoked you are still suffering the effects of that manual penalty until enough data is gathered/complied from the disavow file and Googlebot / algorithm to suggest your site is now in state that its can now be recalculated and put back in to some sort of normal ranking. No matter what you do in that time it is unlikely that you can rank competitively for your content no matter what you do.
“Once a manual action is revoked - the site will rank naturally” NOT TRUE
You have been misinformed on this as per the example above. You must wait for a refresh and your Google must have had enough time to take into consideration the disavow and the compilation of that data.
“With link issues it makes perfect sense their new natural rank is lower because their old ranking was inflated due to unnatural links that had not yet been discounted” yes yes yes yes, we all get used to hearing this but its not the full truth of the matter. Its incorrect. YES 100% you will not be ranking the same by having less links that were helping your rankings but to say you would. But to say you now rank where you should is FALSE. The refresh has not been run and you are still under the effects of the manual penalty. Also if you have removed all the bad links that may have lead to a suppression previous to your manual penalty, you may actually end up with only good links to your site and rank better. But that is never mentioned as a factor as well.
There is no doubt that you are an integral part of the forums and a great help to many many people but either yourself or john is wrong on this matter and my experience proves 100% that you are wrong on this matter including the fact that a hangout in January with John states this very fact.
If a user sat and waited for 6 months to year and did nothing they would have a very similar SERPS situation as if they worked very very hard over those 6 months on links and quality of content. They would not move much until a refresh happens that has a newly combined portfolio of that site.
If people are assuming something then something is wrong with the way the message is being conveyed. FACT!
Please chat with +John Mueller
about this matter as it would seem you have not been fully informed on it.