Make Appearance work for Type objects
More specifically, with type objects, the Appearce palette just says 'Characters', without reflecting the current stroke and fill state of the object. New stroke and fill have to be added to make the Appearance palette useful.
As Lance says (thank you so much for taking your time to write this extended comment).
I agree that double-clicking 'Characters' to access them is not obvious, same as with 'Contents'. It definitely should be more clear. Voted!
If you want to edit the appearance of live-type objects, you will find that the "Characters" in the appearance panel can be double-clicked to enter it and see the appearance attributes of the live type's characters. You can edit all of them, or individual characters from here.
See my screenshots:
#1 is some test text filled with red and stroked in cyan, next to it you see the appearance pane
#2 is the same text, and appearance pane as it appears after double-clicking "Characters" to edit their appearance. I have changed one character to a green stroke.
#3 I have exited editing the characters appearance and added an orange fill and white stroke to the live text object itself. See how the orange stroke covers the red fill of the characters themselves, but the white stroke was left small enough to still see the character's individual cyan and green strokes.
I'm going to vote for your idea and suggest that this feature does not make itself apparent from looking at the user interface. Perhaps some sort of "Edit Appearance" button next to the "Characters" would be helpful in the event you need/want to edit characters appearances individually?