We've spent a bit of time talking about this, both in person and online, and considered many options, including just shutting the doors.
However, none of us really wanted to do that so we're thrashed around a few ideas around what changes we could make. What we all agreed was that the key changes that we needed to make were at the registration gateway. I wont go into the details of what we discarded as what we've ultimately settled on is pretty straightforward.
Registrations are now enabled, but new accounts need to be manually approved before they're allowed to use the site in any way. You wont be able to PM anyone, you wont be able to post or reply, you wont even be able to log in until someone has done this. There's nothing you can do to speed the process up, don't email us or find other ways to try and accelerate it. In fact, it's fairly safe to say that our patience is somewhat thin at the moment and harassing us externally isn't going to get your account approved quicker - more likely the opposite.
There's clearly going to be a lag, and we'll make our best efforts to approve genuine new accounts as quickly as we can but there's no SLA here, it's basically when we get to it. If you register on a Wednesday morning at 4am then I'm sorry (Note: Not really sorry) but you may have to wait a few hours for someone to see it. Equally, mods aren't around all the time, some of us don't have access at work, some of us actually do work when we're there and every now and then we do leave our houses and away from the Internet in the evening.
We're also not going to get it right every time. Rejecting an account is very binary, it's just a yes or no, and there's no opportunity to give reasons why and we have no desire to contact people via email to explain why their account is rejected. If you're a genuine new user and your account is rejected, then I'm sorry (Note: Actually sorry about this), we're rather have to deal with the occasional mistake than swimming in the fecal matter of the toilet bowl this place had become.
It's not ideal, but it's the least disruptive action to take for existing members, as well as avoiding a massive administrative overhead from our side. We hope we can relax this in the future but there's no set timescale for this and we'll probably do it silently anyway.
This doesn't mean the "New Rules" have changed in terms of zero tolerance to disruptive behaviour. That's still in place and accounts will still be canned, but the full permaban is only going to be used in extreme circumstances. Getting a three day ban doesn't mean you just register a new account and carry on, it means you're supposed to be excluded for three days. Trying to get round that initial ban is only going to increase it.
We would like to thank everyone who's taken the time to post up suggestions, offered support both in public and via PM and we think people understand why we did what we did. Interestingly enough, the activity metrics didn't really take much of a hit - daily activity is still higher than it was in August for example so it's not been as destructive as some seem to have tried to portray and I think we're pretty comfortable in the assumption that the dip in activity is directly related to shedding a few high volume shitposters that we didn't want here anyway. So in that regard, it's been a zero sum game.