After finally reading that "Welcome New Members - Please read first" thread, I'd have to agree - thats quite ridiculous.
In all of my years of being on forums and online communities (which is many), I have never seen things work this way. And while sure, doing things your own way is fine sometimes - You're making new members jump through too many hoops, when they're most likely here because they're in a very stresssful situation.
It's quite typical that new management comes in, and right away starts making unncessary changes to something that was already working just fine the way it was, and its human nature to be skeptical of changes. But as sound advice, don't change TOO much, TOO fast that you scare people off. I have seen this happen all too many times with great forums and online communities, to the point where a once great forum/community, shuts down because new management ran them all off. I'm not implying that will happen here, and I would certainly hope not - because regardless of the changes, this is still one of my favorite forums. But it can happen. And you already have long established members talking about seeking out other options. That should be of grave concern to you. And quickly dismissing members concerns, is not the way to handle things. Like I have seen the new admin reply to some members with "If you don't like it, don't look at it". If I was a new member, and saw the admin reply that way, that would leave a bad taste in my mouth, and I wouldn't bother signing up. There's more professional and polite ways to reply to situations, even if they can not/will not be changed.
New members having to introduce themselves is quite silly. This isn't kindergarten. When I have a cat in need, and I'm seeking answers (even after a vet visit - yes, vets DO often leave you with alot of unanswered questions, or sometimes you just need moral support from someone that has gone through the same situation), it means I'm stressed and desperately trying to find help and answers to my specific questions. It also means that I don't want to sit and write out some happy thread about how I met my cats and/or where I'm from. Introductions usually come later, once members obtain the help they need, normally they stick around and post pictures and introductions. And if they don't, who cares? We may have helped a cat in need, and that alone satisfies me more than knowing where that person is from, or how they met their cats. Forcing introductions to be their first post, is a huge turn off to someone thats stressed and in need, and quite honestly - I would seek out a new forum if I was new and saw that.
Also, I'm the owner/operator of a well established popular online community in a virtual world. And I can speak from alot of years of experience, that sick and twisted individuals will go through the extremes of doing introductions and even establishing themselves as a known member, prior to making a sick psycho post. So forcing introductions will not stop someone thats on a psycho-path mission.
However, after Marie's explanation I do understand the need for moderators to approve at least their first posts, but again - telling them it can "take up to 48 hours", another huge turn off. Remember, when people are in need - they're in a state of panic. 48 hours can feel like a month when you're feeling that way. Whether it actually takes 48 hours or not, is not the point. You tell them it can take that long. Meanwhile, there are a million other forums out there, that they can get immediate answers on. Is that really what you want? I doubt it. So you're potentially chasing off future members with your "48 hour" rule. You have alot of well established members on this forum, so you can recruit more moderators in varying time zones if need be, so you can advertise a lower approval time frame, at the very least - it should be no more than 24 hours. Or you could even do away with the first-post approval rule, if you had enough mods to delete vile posts right away. You can never have too many moderators.
And I'll repeat yet again - Put the Rules/Terms of Service at the sign up process for them to click and agree to abide by, not in thread form. That just makes no sense whatsoever. It would save one unneccesary post to desperate new cat lovers seeking advice.