The mods have actually been planning this change for quite a while now, and the recent problems have prompted us to implement it now.
From now on, all new registered members will enter the forum in Probie status. This is almost identical to the previous entry-level usergroup, Basic Trainees, except their posts are automatically queued for moderator approval and they cannot create photo albums on their profile page.
ETA: They also will not have access to the profiles of others or themselves, or be able to send or receive Private Messages. And their Visitor messages will be moderated. This includes the use of signatures
'Probie' status is intended to be short-term. It is a measure to help protect our community from spammers and other abusive users, and by no means punitive.
The mods are on most hours of the day, every day, and will do their very best to approve posts from new members promptly.
New members will be automatically promoted to "Basic Trainee" when they meet a minimum threshold for posts, length of membership, Reputation. (These thresholds will not be disclosed, for obvious reasons, and may be periodically adjusted.) The moderators are also empowered to manually promote new users if they are convinced that they are "law-abiding" citizens and not spammers in disguise.
Thanks to everyone, and especially to our newest members for their patience and understanding.
ETA: The more recent lockdowns on VM's, PM's and profile pages are solely due to spammers exploiting our members and our site to send their garbage out.