"...these are, I think, the same people that have great insight to add through emails that I receive."1
Again, I think this depends on your perspective. Some craft a site to be a megaphone. Some craft a site to be a discussion. Everyone is entitled to their own expectations for a site they run and pay for. In my opinion, if comments are all sequestered in an email inbox, they're not very valuable to anyone other than the recipient. I actually prefer comments to be public and in context on this site. Expecting disconnected sites to be a conversation is just silly to me.2 Maybe it's the value of comments from plebs that is in question. I know I have stopped sending comment email all together. The absence of a comment form tells me all I need to know about the perceived value of my input.