Personally it is phase orientated. I read the questions and forums contrast answering and commenting (forums) probably at a ratio of guessing 20:1. I read them much more than answer. Not just the question . . . the answers.
That offers opportunity to discover the consensus, opposing views, and with the 'Hot' category a historical view. Of, course the battle is how much a question interests you, how popular it is, and too how marketable it is. Not without oddity going back and looking at your past questions discovery may indicate there is history with it.
Another thing I do is I answer questions all the time, however I don't publish them. I use them as thought exercises, I use them to check my knowledge base, I use them to see how confident I am with writing about the subject, and I use the answer window as a guide.
For the latter I write with my present knowledge base and If I reach the end I feel it has potential. I know the window holds 2,500 characters or approximately 500 words. Once that was pretty close to a hub being 700 words.
Then, I open a word document, I copy/paste the question, and I copy/paste my answer. I got that idea from the movie 'Finding Forrester' with Sean Connery. He taught his protege from example with his many file cabinets with story beginnings only. I stock pile future possibilities. An immensely awesome movie about being an author. Of least, I liked it :)
So, many mornings I write answers, think a lot about them, sometimes but not always do some research (When I copy/paste to the Word Document I will copy/paste the links from open searches at the bottom), and at times I may ponder a question for hours. And, I may copy/paste several answers onto the word document offering opportunity of choice.
So, bottom line for me they offer opportunity to practice, the convenience of size limitations for organizing thoughts, opportunity for the enlightenment of the questions audience, learning something, and possibility . . . for tomorrow.