Can anyone chime in whether if it is socially acceptable for a (graduate) student to directly contact renowned academics outside your immediate research department with comments on their work or your work?
This is under the assumption that you are not a crank or a stalker or someone who is trying to become an "academic celebrity".
By renowned academic, I refer to people who have published well-known textbooks, ultra-high impact publications, or are important figures (i.e., "Godfather/mother of..."), or have made public appearances, shook hand with the President, etc.
It is not unheard of in the old days. I remember seeing letters from Einstein or Freud answering questions from "concerned citizens" (including kids). But I wonder if it is socially acceptable to do this nowadays. Regardless of the answer, I wonder what are the chances of receiving a serious reply.
Update: Encouraged by the response I have received, I contacted the person with his work and I posed to question for him asking for advice. The person gave me a very warm reply!