While its true that you guys do a fantastic job of cleaning up the spam quickly, what vexes me is that I like to check out posts that were made since the last time I logged in. And I'm 8 hours out of sync with the forum maintainers, so a lot of spam has built up by the time I check the forum. So about half the time I'm checking out posts that have been modified by a nice fresh hunk of spam. Also, this means I get to see a lot more spam than someone just randomly browsing the forums for interesting subjects or doing a search.
I like the notion of being able to post to the forum without mucking with registration. I love the Bugmenot Firefox extension. http://roachfiend.com/archives/2005/02/07/bugmenot/
It enables me to visit news web sites without bothering with registration. But the purpose of those registrations is to track you for marketing purposes and send you unsolicited email. Forum registration is to keep other forum users from being annoyed by similar commercial solicitations.
I don't think the forum needs one of those 'hit the link in the return email' registration processes, because I think the spam is probably being generated by bots. Maybe just 'pick a username and a password' login, supplemented by one of those little glyphs that requires you to type in a fuzzy number.
The glyph seems necessary because the bots seem to be forming spam accounts at a geometric rate. Look at page 3 of the memberlist and the vast majority of accounts seem to be from real people and were added over a period of almost 3 months. On page 41 all of the usernames look like spammers and they accumulated in less than 1 day.
On the other paw, maybe just adding a couple of moderators would be sufficient, at least in the short term.
I don't think this should be a democratic decision, in the sense of one poster, one vote. Most of us aren't doing much of the important work, so I think those that are doing most of the grunt work should make the decision. And since folks like jebba, r7, Jason & stevo32 seem to be against requiring registration, that should be decisive, but I'm just posting my opinion for them to see the "reasoning" of those who think otherwise.