This is actually one of the big reasons we started the forum. We used to get so many emails, all asking very similar questions, and after a while it’s like there are only so many times you can write the same thing to hundreds of people. After a while you start feeling like a vending machine, just dispensing gumballs to everyone. It’s a little dehumanizing, actually!
You can imagine, the more well known someone is, like Vai or even Beato as he has grown in popularity, the harder it gets. Vai must get an avalanche of emails and I can’t imagine he can respond to any substantial fraction of them.
Also, just as another thing you may not have considered, but I can tell you this first hand, there are a few things that immediately stick out as strange. One, if you get multiple emails from someone repeatedly even though you haven’t written back. Or two, if you get a super-long emails from someone you don’t know, sometimes with links and videos and questions all numbered out. Both of these can make a strange impression and can make it less likely that you will write back, even though you might have written back to a single email, or a shorter one. I’m not saying you did this, but I’m just telling you, having been on the other end of this, if you build even a small public profile, you’re going to get requests from all sorts of people and sometimes, you might not want to write them back if they seem a little strange or demanding.
So anyway, now with the forum, this makes a lot of this much more straightforward. If I respond to something, it feels like it’s building something useful for everyone. And the super long posts or multiple unanswered posts on the same topic that might seem a little over the top - those issues sort themselves out on their own because people can modulate based on the responses they are getting.
We spend a lot of time on here answering and asking questions, but it has actually solved some challenging problems for us that we are happy to have solved.
Just some thoughts from the other side of this.