The final field on the HTML filter's configuration page is Spam Link Deterrent. In early 2005, Google announced (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog_spam#nofollow) that it would no longer award any page rank credit to sites based on links with the rel="nofollow" attribute in them. This was done in response to the increasing phenomenon of spammers posting comments on blogs with links to their own sites just to increase their page ranking with Google and other search engines. Drupal quickly responded, and by checking the Spam Link Deterrent option, you ensure that any links posted by your site's users will have the rel="nofollow" attribute, and Google will not follow them when spidering. Let's hope that the incentive for comment spam will dwindle as spammers realize that they are wasting their time.
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