Why is my account locked at registration? What is the account approval process?

Beginning April 2016, all new accounts on the SWG archive will have to be approved by a moderator before the member can log in to use them. This is not an ideal situation, but recent and unrelenting attacks from spammers who have thwarted all of our attempts to keep them off the site has caused us to decide that this is the best action to take. We hope the lack of comment spam for our authors will make up for this the minor inconvenience at registration.

How does the new registration process work?

As in the past, the registration system is automated, and new members will be able to sign up for their own accounts. These accounts, however, will be locked until a moderator can review and approve the account. If you're interested in signing up for an account on our archive, visit the Join page to review our Site Etiquette and Terms of Service, after which you will be directed to register your account.

Once you've registered, the moderation team will receive an email alerting them of a new registration. The first moderator available will review the account to determine if the registrant is a real person with a genuine interest in the mission of the site. Please see below for some tips on what you can do to speed up the confirmation process for our moderators. Once a moderator has reviewed your account, the account will be unlocked, and you will have full privileges as a member of the SWG. You will receive an email at the address you used at registration, confirming that your account has been unlocked.

In the event that we cannot confirm that an account was registered by a real person and not by a spambot, we will contact the email address used at registration for confirmation. Once we receive that confirmation, the account will be unlocked.

How long will the approval process take?

The SWG has moderators all around the world. We are generally able to reply to new accounts within a few hours--sometimes even less than that! In the unlikely event that you don't hear from us within twenty-four hours, please feel free to query at

How are accounts approved and what can I do to ensure that mine is approved quickly?

The first place our moderators look when approving a new account is the bio. New members fill out this section when they register for an account. It can be daunting to write a biography for a new site, but even a line or two that show an interest in Tolkien will let our moderators know immediately that the member is a legitimate registrant. Once your account is unlocked, you can expand the bio or delete these few lines if you want.

Not sure what to say? Here are a few questions that might help!

If a new member leaves the bio blank, we will next attempt to find them online using the pen name, real name (if given), and email address provided at registration. If we find the person registered on another site with a focus on fandom, Tolkien, or another relevant topic, then we will approve the account. For example, we would approve an account for a pen name that also writes Hobbit and Avenger fanfic on AO3. We would approve the account of a person who participates in discussions on LotRPlaza. We would approve the account of a person who retweets fantasy art and Tolkien proverbs on Twitter.

It's important to note that we seek to approve new accounts, not look upon them with suspicion. If we can find anything on a new account suggesting an interest a topic relevant to our site, we are going to approve the account.

If the bio is left blank and we cannot find anything by searching for the pen name and other information, we will contact the new member and ask them to reply to a confirmation email. Once they do so, we will approve the account.

What happens if an account is rejected?

Under no circumstances will we reject an account, unless it is a flagrant violation of our Site Etiquette and Terms of Service. (For example, we will delete an account that is clearly being used to post spam in the bio.) This is not a vetting process to ensure that newcomers are "Tolkien enough" for our site; it is a process intended to keep spammers from abusing our site and annoying our authors. We will contact all new registrants by email if we cannot approve their accounts based on the information they provided. The account will remain on our site and locked until the person replies to our email or contacts us to unlock the account, whether it takes the new member five minutes or five years to reply.

All questions about registration or new accounts should be directed to Please don't be shy--we're here to help!

Last updated 21 April 2016.

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