Ok, so this will be a rant. Much personal opinion that I know is not entirely shared. It is what I believe based on my experience that you will need in order to build the most optimal and most maintainable pipeline long-term. I am not interested in short-term. Just long-term.
Here we go.
< rant >
Do not modify data during or after publishing
Triple check with yourself that each publish is (1) idempotent and that the published content is (2) immutable. Another way of putting it, make absolutely all changes to what you are about to publish before publishing it.
If you find that you need to make modifications in order to publish, then you are not yet ready to publish. This includes extruding that extra edge, assigning that extra shader or setting that extra attribute. It's likely you are lacking other tools, unrelated to publishing, and are trying to do too much with publishing alone.
Publishing is about output.
Now, the fact that the GUI provides an option (through actions) to make modifications within the publishing GUI (but still not during publishing, thank god) is a great regret of mine that I fear is adding so much time and confusion about the role of publishing than the time it saves by enabling artists to make quick fixes. I believe that if I hadn't given in to implementing this feature, you would all have already built a much better and maintainable alternative by now, but instead you're stuck with this insufficient mechanism. Great short term, bad long term.
My recommendation is to build your understanding and pipeline around publishing through CVEI alone and think only of actions - and modifications during publishing overall - as a completely separate, extra bonus, cherry on top or ideally do not use it at all. You don't need it. Great short term, bad long term.
< \rant >