Okay, this is inside baseball and really doesn’t affect anyone but me. But in the interest of transparency, I’m going to explain it.
I just effected a change in how new members sign up to the site. All new members will now go into a group called “New Members.” Those who’ve been around for a while are simply “Members.” Twice each day, I clear out and delete the roster of New Members who have not posted anything. I assume they are spammers. There are undoubtedly some legitimate lurkers in there, but there is nothing stopping them from signing up again if they want to post something. Those deleted are not “banned;” it’s just their current membership that is deleted. (I still ban certain domains from posting, but most spammers use gmail or hotmail, and restricting those domains would be suicide for the site.)
I’ve been doing this clearing of the roster for quite some time. It’s not ideal, but given the hundreds of spammers who join the site each day (most never actually post a message), it’s the only way I can control them. The change allows me to do it more efficiently and without risk of accidentally deleting a legitimate member who has been around a while.
If a “New Member” posts a non-spam message, I will change their status to “Member.”
I’ve thought about introducing moderation and asking some of the regulars to be moderators, but the forum software won’t let me restrict moderation to specific groups, like “New Members.” Moderation on the forum is all or nothing. Either no messages are moderated or all are, and I don’t want to restrict everyone’s messages to moderation. (I can restrict moderation of blog comments by specific groups, and I will reactivate comments to the main site on a moderated basis for New Members at some point. Why Expression Engine doesn’t do this for the forums, I don’t know.)