That is a good question.
To the best of my knowledge, there is no particular protocol in replying to posts directed specifically to Tom. However, when members specifically single out Tom with their questions, presumably because they value Tom's advice and opinions, or perhaps because their questions are related to the professional side of the pizza business rather than to the home hobbyist side, as a courtesy to the posters and to Tom my practice is to give Tom a chance to answer the questions before doing anything with them. However, if I know that Tom has answered certain questions before, I might cite where Tom answered the questions, both here and at the PMQ Think Tank, or in articles he has written. I might also answer very simple questions just to save Tom some time so that he can answer the tougher questions.
Our members may not be aware of it, but the PMQTT also has a similar section where members can single out Tom with their questions. That section is at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=9214
. Tom also replies to posts directed to him on the main part of the PMQTT forum. As one might expect, because of Tom's workload at his main job at the AIB, his attendance at industry/trade functions, and his travel schedule, he can't always respond to every question directed to him, both here and at the PMQTT. So, it is common for other members on the boards to answer many of the questions directed to Tom before he has even had a chance to see them, and often even after he has seen them. One of the advantages of our forum over the PMQTT forum is that members, such as Tom, can find unread posts easily. At the PMQTT, where the posts are logged in chronologically, questions move down into the stack and after a few days the page disappears from view. That means that one has to scroll back through the pages to find posts that call for responses. I suspect that Tom misses posts because of that. That is not a problem on our forum.
To the above, I would add that Tom will usually respond to PMs and emails from the members of our forum. So, if Tom misses a post that someone really wanted him to see and to respond to, a PM or email might alert him to the matter. However, this is something that one might do sparingly, where the answer is important to the questioner, not just a casual matter. For the casual stuff, we have several members who can provide answers.