Very informative so far. From our experience a 6 month rotation is fine. We choose to "stabilize" our fuel. The stabilizer is mostly alcohol, and is intended to drive water from the fuel. If you live in an arid (low humidity) area, and stay away from the ethanol blended gasoline, you might not need to "stabilize" the fuel.
As for keeping the drums/barrels/cans full or not, PrepperJim has the right approach. You need room for the vapors to expand (a check valve is ideal). Having more than his recommended 10% head by volume can lead to other issues. The "explosive" nature of gasoline is more dangerous and likely from vapors than liquid. Allowing more than 10% of your storage to be in vapor form (potentially) is something I would avoid. So to address your safety concerns, I'd do the following:
1) Keep your fuel containers either full (minus 10% or less for expansion of vapors) or empty.
2) Keep them cool and out of the direct sunlight. Fuel is fuel, but kept well below it's combustion temperature is where the safety lies. Especially since vapor is formed at higher temperatures.
3) Be careful with static electricity. Fill them on the ground, and understand that metal on metal threads can generate static electricity and/or sparks.
4) Keep your fuel dry and "clean". Water or ethanol in your fuel will ruin it for long term use.
5) Protect your investment. Avoid laying them on their sides or unnecessarily jostling the containers. Have a plan for where they are stored and keep them there.
Hope this helps!