When I was letting people use the auto-sign-up page, I was getting a hundred or two hundred fake signups a day that I had to go through and check out one by one. So I went to a manual setup where people would e-mail me to sign up, but when I started having maintenance nightmares I got way behind on that.
Here's something I haven't shared, and part of the reason I'm going to reusing the automatic signup, but with other stipulations (the applicant must e-mail me as soon as the registration form is submitted; the applicant must log in and change his or her password to something they will remember; and the applicant must introduce himself or herself in the "Who Am I Forum"after signing up). 80 percent of the people I have signed up manually NEVER logged in, period. Yes, you heard that, 80%. I just deleted all the "members" who haven't logged in ever, because there's no point carrying them on the rolls.
Now are you ready for another statistic? 90% of the people I signed up manually never posted at all. The irony is that the people who seemed most desperate to belong were inevitably the ones who never contributed one question, tip, or other remark once they were members.
I know several people who wanted to belong and contribute became frustrated because it took me so long to get into the system, but what you didn't know until now is that when I was vetting applicants and entering all of their information manually, I was, frankly, wasting my time far more often than not.
Now that I've gone to a system that puts 95% of the burden of signing up on the applicant, I'm sure you'll hear some complaints. That's fine. These forums are EXPLODING with content, thanks to a handful of people who share and encourage and contribute on a regular basis. And frankly, my priority is to protect our community, and only allow folks in who truly want to be part of it. Folks who can't be bothered to make ONE post as a part of the signup process probably are better off observing from the outside anyway.
Have a great spring, all!