I'm sure you know the answer to both of these, but are asking "in the voice of" the confused group owners, in order to emphasize the inconsistency.
Why do you sometimes see an NC member, and sometimes not?The NC appears only for unconfirmed email addresses.
I believe that can only be seen for members who joined/requested via the web.
For those who joined/requested by email, their response to the +subscribe confirmation also confirms their email address. So you (the group manager) either don't see them at all or you see them as confirmed.
Why are you sometimes notified of an application to your group rightThat was the prior message.
My suggestions are either to (a) ALWAYS require a confirmation ofI'll paraphrase the saying: let not the consistent be the enemy of the practical.
I think option (a) is a worse experience for members joining by web. Especially those who joined by web because they're having issues with email.
The NEVER clause of (b) is a worse experience for members and mods because mods can't help web applicants who might otherwise be helped.
The ALWAYS clause of (b) is a worse experience for mods who may have to sort through scores, hundreds, or thousands of bot-generated +subscribe requests that would otherwise have been culled by the confirmation requirement.
Dispelling hobgoblins since 2007