I'm also late to this party. XKSpeed is also an editor in my area, and the AM, spankdog, has been very helpful. My professional background is as a software engineer, similar to XKSpeed, if you recall his original post.
Even though I have only been doing this a short time, I've already found that I spend the majority of my editing time with URs and not general map edits. However, when working URs I might peruse the area surrounding for any chance items to edit that may not have been reported by anyone.
As XKSpeed and other will verify, there are a large number of unaddressed URs in our area. I've found some approaching 5 months without ANY comments on them, let alone a boilerplate introduction. So my goal right now is to get as many of the URs off the map, following the flowchart and established etiquette.
First off, and maybe this is because I'm relatively new to this, I've only had a handful of URs that I could easily solve without asking any questions based on the error type, problem description, and/or the provided traces. Almost all have required communication with the reporter.
The first URs I look for are General Errors without any problem description. These may or may not have traces, and if after looking I can't figure out what the report would even be about, a boilerplate request goes like this: "Thanks for your report. Can you elaborate on the general error you are reporting?" Lately, the response usually comes back quickly that the report was a mistake. I follow that with a thanks, and tell them I will be closing the report.
For wrong directions, turn not allowed and others of that type, it usually involves some variation of asking for the destination, where they ended up, and where things went wrong. If the trace is somewhat useful, I may also ask about the intersections where the suggested and actual diverge. Before I know the destination, I may also ask them to verify whether the destination is in the correct place using Google Maps. If the destination was a business, I usually ask if they were searching based on a business name or the address.
URO+ helps filter out some of those while I am waiting for a response. Tomorrow I have a large batch of boilerplate GEs and older URs that will pass the 7 day minimum that I will likely be closing. I feel somewhat bad about that, because most of them filed the report for a reason, but I can't fix anything if they don't respond.
The biggest problem I am having is related to Google Map pins. Unlike others, I'm only batting about .500 with getting changes approved over there. The most common denial reason I get is "Has wrong information", without any explanation as to what was missing (but that's the subject of another thread).
In the end I think if most of the editors in an area have a team-minded mentality where they work together to solve issues and not worry about the points, it benefits the area and users in the area as a whole.