Maybe this will help pave the way for hacks that are a bit different from the usual hacks, like palette, art, etc. hacks. Not that I'm saying there's nothing wrong with those - I'm just saying that there are some aspects of the games that have got more attention than other parts, but that those "other parts" can help create a hack just as unique/cool as a hack that concentrates more on the usually-hacked parts.
And I agree with saxman - popularity isn't necessarily the key to "good" research. Figuring out how bits and pieces of a small, relatively "simple" object, such as how a ring adds to your ring count (hey, I remember doing this...), work may not gain lots of attention, but it's certainly a step forward, both in self-improvement and research in the community. Even if you just use that knowledge to make a hack that reverses a bunch of opcodes and NOPs a few others, like I did.
The same thing applies to editors, too. The S1 boss hitcount editor wasn't exactly the most popular thing since saying "Whassssuuup?!" but it was a step forwards. (And, thanks to saxman, that "step forwards" has evolved into something much bigger, as indicated by my profile.)