> you mean like there were more tables to be recreated back then than there are
Not even sure that's true - the version of VPINMAME that existed then supported far fewer games than the current one. There are still LOADS of games supported by VPM that haven't been converted, or have been converted to very basic standards and could do with a lot of improvement.
But even so, there were far more releases even of tables that had already been done, as people modded them freely and improved different areas of the table and incorporated other people's improvements too, all without anyone having to go round begging some self-appointed bureaucrats for "permission". As soon as people start doing anything, you'll always get some arsehole who says "We need to have rules and procedures and protocols about this." For many months, the VP community managed just fine without them. My "unauthorised" mods were massively popular, until a tiny handful of whingers managed to get their way, by using money and threats to buy power, and the community has been haemorrhaging authors ever since.
Look at the names in those early threads. Note how few of them are still producing releases. Note how few new authors have come in to replace them. None of those people quit because of an unauthorised mod made by me or anyone else. They quit because of the explosion of ill-feeling created by the tiny handful of people who decided to make a big fuss about the issue.