New Account Registration re-enabled - apparently the extension we use for ReCaptcha service had a configuration change and to utilize the more secure form it needed different parameters. We did not notice this when it occurred. Sorry folks!
"Page protection" is a means of limiting which editors are able to edit a page. On most wikis it's used to prevent changes to certain important policy pages or to stop conflicts over editing public pages, but here on Shifti it's also helpful for authors who want to ensure that the stories they post are never vandalized or otherwise edited by others.
There are two main methods for protecting a story.
Protecting non-User pages
One method is to simply click on the "protect" tab at the top (or in the sidebar, depending on which skin one is using). By default users don't have this function available, but sysops and users who have been added to the "author" group have this ability. (If you have posted a story but are not yet in the "author" group, post a request on the user talk page of one of Shifti's sysops and you'll be added.)
When you click the protect tab you'll be taken to a page where you'll be asked to specify what level of protection you want and to confirm it. Select "sysop only"; even though authors are not technically sysops they have the same page protection abilities and so you'll still be able to edit the page after you protect it.
This technically allows members of the "author" group to protect or unprotect pages that belong to other authors, as well as other pages that have been protected by sysops. Please limit yourself to protecting your own stories, and respect the protection that others have put on their stories by not editing them without permission. If an author abuses his ability to edit other peoples' protected pages the ability can be taken away.
User pages and subpages
The other main method is to place your story on a subpage of your user page. Shifti has an extension called KeepYourHandsToYourself installed that automatically protects your user page against editing by anyone other than yourself (and administrators). The associated discussion pages in the "user talk" namespace remain public. So, for example, the user pages User:Joe Bloggs and User:Joe Bloggs/Magic Cheese can only be edited by Joe Bloggs himself, but User talk:Joe Bloggs and User talk:Joe Bloggs/Magic Cheese are open to the public.
Some authors have expressed a dislike of having "User:Name/" appended to the beginning of the titles of their stories using this method. To fix this a minor change was made to the software to no longer place an automatically-generated title header at the top of the page, allowing custom headers to be added using Template:title. You can change how links to pages appear by using "piped" links, for example [[User:Joe Bloggs/Magic Cheese|Magic Cheese]] appears as Magic Cheese (the linked text is the string after the "pipe" character). When categorizing the story you can override the sort keys to remove the "User:" section from the links shown there as well, see Help:Categorization for more detail.
Protecting pages against creation
It's not commonly needed, but it's possible for members of the sysop or author usergroups to protect a page that doesn't exist yet. Do this by transcluding the nonexistent page into Shifti:Protected redlinks. Shifti:Protected redlinks is under "cascading" protection, which means that pages transcluded into it will also be protected from any changes - in this case, protected against being created in the first place. The main use of this is in fighting persistent vandals, a very rare occurrence that only sysops generally need to worry about, so story authors can ignore this entirely.