I have to say, I feel the same way about closed forums. For one, it puts people off (I know I wouldn't join one), but most importantly, it implicitly sends a message that outsiders are not welcome. And that's kind of unfriendly towards people who might otherwise be wonderful contributers in due course.
I'm a lurker. I am. On any website I check in on, I take a looooooong
time to read and get comfortable with the subjects that come up. I like to be able to learn the culture of a forum before I jump in. Each one has its own style and language, and it's really important for me to be aware of that before I start commenting. Heck, I read this
one for almost a year before I felt comfy enough to speak up. So I'd hate to see the ability to lurk taken away. Lurking isn't sinister, I promise! It's just that some of us are shy and like to take our time. Lurkers are great, and although they're silent, they're an important part of any open forum. I am the Lurker's Advocate!
Sherry, you absolutely deserve time off from the Conchords' coal face. Frankly, I'm in awe of how you sustained the interest this long. But I really appreciate everything you've done here for us newcomers, I really, really do. And bloody hell - trying to do this when you've been flooded out of your home and without a proper computer and WITH A BABY? Holy crap, you're a saint!
I agree with Wolfie that the spammers are flippin' annoying, and if there's anything useful we plebs can do, just say the word. Maybe you can loan Indigo your scythe so she can go all medieval on those spammy spam spammers' arses. A little Christmas bloodshed! Yeah! Or maybe a ritual spammers witch-burning
. That could be fun too!