One of the moderators on Stack Overflow in Portuguese was complaining about the number of "closed without comment" flags they had to deal with, considering the community has plenty of users who could provide guidance to newcomers and not leave all the work to the mod team.
That flag only exists on beta sites, as a way to ensure new users get the help they need when they post a question that's not well received by the community. That's a noble goal, but I'm not sure this flag is the right way to achieve this.
Some sites can stay in beta for a long time and have pretty mature rules. The community grows weary of re-writing what's already explained by the text on the "closed as" box under the post. You can't expect top users to keep detailing why they voted to close a post every time they do it.
Also, while the flag might help a moderator improve a post, or explain the rules to a newbie, some posts just can't be saved. For instance, there's nothing an experienced user, or moderator, can do to save or improve questions that are clearly off-topic for the site. They should get closed and there's no point in wasting anyone's time on them. The default close text does a fine job explaining what happened to the poster.
I did some research on a handful of old beta sites. Of all posts flagged "closed without comment", the majority (>40%) of them were closed as off-topic. That's a lot of unnecessary work over the years.
Why a queue?
Anyone can do this; There's no point in leaving it all to the mods
Right now the moderators are solely responsible for fixing, or not fixing, these questions, when there are dozens of other users who could do it just as well. This task doesn't require any specially knowledge and could easily be handled by the community.
It gives people who close without commenting an opportunity to learn too
The current model skips over the fact that a bad post is not the only one to blame for that flag. There's also the users who voted to close a question and did not care to provide any information, guidance or assistance to the poster. A learning opportunity is wasted when a moderator just goes in and silently fix that mistake.
Users would get assistance much faster than they do now
The queue would make sure that everyone's constantly reminded of the importance of commenting on posts you vote to close (when there's a need to do so) and that, in case a post does get closed without an explanation, that mistake gets fixed much quicker than before.
After some comments, I realized I had to go deeper! Apologies for taking so long, so let's begin... Out of all SE sites, Core Review has the most "Closed without comment" flags, at 1588 flags so far. Little over double the number of flags on OnStartups (775). So let's start crunching numbers:
How useful is the flag?
Let's take a look at how the mods review these flags, to see if they're being useful.
How many of them were declined by the moderators?1
Flags | Declined | Pct. Declined 1646 | 597 | 36.27
It sure looks like these flags are useful after all but as @rolfl pointed out, it takes less clicks to dismiss flags as "helpful" and mods might be inclined to do that, given that it's a Community flag. This means this might not be the most accurate way of measuring just how useful this flag really is.
So, maybe, as a way to measure how effective the flag is, we could see how many posts received comments after they were flagged:
Flags | Commented | Pct. Commented 1646 | 637 | 38.70
It didn't change much. That's almost 2/3rd of all flagged posts that got no help at all.
Could they have been saved? So, out of those that did receive some care due to being flagged, did that care work? Were they re-opened?
Commented | Reopened | Pct. Reopened 637 | 117 | 18.37
Looks low, like the extra guidance didn't matter. So let's see how many uncommented posts get reopened:
Uncommented | Reopened | Pct. Reopened 1009 | 32 | 3.17
That's a considerable difference. It's the kind of thing I was looking for. The comments do make a difference and, right now, the moderators are the only ones responsible for adding them. I don't think that should not be the case. But, as I said, some questions are simply beyond saving (the obvious case being questions that are clearly off-topic) and, as such, there's no point in leaving a comment. Let's remove all off-topic questions from the last set of data and see how that goes:
(Only off-topic) Uncommented | Reopened | Pct. Reopened 57 | 5 | 8.77
That's certainly an improvement, but still not even close to the percentage of posts that get reopened when you add a comment.
Sorry for taking so long to gather this and post here, but other things (professional and personal) got in the way. But now, after looking at the numbers, I'm even more convinced there's good reason to remove this automatic flag and replace it with a queue, where the work of helping new users understand and get used to our sites is shared among existing users.
1. This doesn't match the numbers I gave on a comment down below. That query had an error in it, and was returning the number of flags disputed.