So here's the thing. Most importantly, bear in mind that a question being placed on hold does not prevent the user from doing anything that they could do otherwise. The only two effects it has is it prevents answers (which won't usually be possible if the question is unclear, anyways), and, of course, it makes the question a candidate for deletion later.
With that in mind, I believe the wrong questions are being asked here, and also the premise is slightly off:
- You keep saying "closed" but, at least for certain reasons (like "unclear"), you mean "on hold" (see e.g. the wording in the box). This is significant: Long ago this wording was changed specifically to highlight the fact that the state is often temporary. (It remains "on hold" for 5 days until it is labelled "closed", although that is only a wording thing, the possible actions a user can take are not affected.)
- As mentioned, the user can still do everything they could do before.
- The "on hold" box says "edit the question" -- that's the reaction the user should take, and they can still take it.
- Putting a question on hold isn't bad.
- What you should really be doing is pushing for people to reopen more quickly and stop treating a question being put "on hold" as some sort of showstopper, which it isn't.
- You should be pushing for polite explanatory comments from existing users when a question is put on hold, explaining to the user how they can clarify and that their question can and will be reopened once they do clarify. This is the most valuable thing here: In addition to what is displayed in the box, friendly, constructive comments are what makes the difference between "on hold" being perceived as good vs. bad.
- If you believe the "on hold" instruction box is unclear to new users thus leaving them not knowing what to do, you should push for better wording.
- More subtle of course, your post may unintentionally contribute to a larger problem: By making a post like this you cast "on hold" in a negative light, thus increasing its undeserved bad rap, and it's a bit of a spiral.
Check out What is a "closed" or “on hold” question? for further info about the intent and process, as well as http://tex.stackexchange.com/help/closed-questions.
There are two MSE feature requests you may be interested in supporting:
The "on hold" system isn't bad. It's good. It's good because it prevents wandering answers to unclear questions, and that's the only thing it prevents. Having a question be put on hold is independent of whether or not the user can react, and therefore it does not matter if it's placed on hold before or after the user has reacted.
There is exactly one situation where it actually can create a bit of friction, which is the relatively rare situation where 5 people deem the question is e.g. unclear, but then somebody comes along who is actually able to make sense of it but can't post an answer. This does happen sometimes. If this happens and you are that potential answerer, what you should do is:
- Edit the question to make it clearer for everybody, since you are able to make sense of it.
- Nominate it for reopening if you have the privilege.
- Leave a comment explaining what you did.
- As a last resort you can always solicit reopen votes for a question you've legitimately improved on meta or in chat.
The above is just for that one edge case.
Btw, some data, if you want it, limited to the past year:
Total Questions: 27001
Open Questions: 21203 (includes reopened)
Closed Questions: 2704 (not deleted)
Deleted Questions: 3094
Closed Unclear/Broad: 387 (not deleted)
Reopened Unclear/Broad: 35
Reopened Total: 144
Avg. Time to Close: 21810 minutes (~15 days, all reasons)
Min. Time to Close: 1 minute (all reasons)
Max. Time to Close: 492441 minutes (~11 months, all reasons)
Median Time to Close: 245 minutes (all reasons)
Of non-deleted questions, 387 out of 27001 were put on hold as unclear / too broad, and of those, 35 were reopened. This data is not meant to sway anything one way or the other, it is only data, interpret as you will.