A short while ago we reported that we were improving our anti-spam measures on the forums. The tests were a success and so the need for post-approval when you register has been removed. Nobody has appeared to be adversely affected by the internal measures we have to prevent spam, but if you are, please get in touch with us.
Also, a Gravatar mod has been installed. If you have a Gravatar, feel free to turn it on in Avatar preferences.