There are several aspects of security that are important for a Metapedia project:
- User security. The encyclopedic texts should be protected from vandalism and other unwanted modifications.
- Some of the writers will probably want to be anonymous, for various reasons.
- Protection against hacking attempts.
MediaWiki supports several different setups to enable writers to add and edit the encyclopedic texts while keeping unwanted editors out.
One setup, which is currently used by the Danish version of Metapedia, allows anyone to register an Metapedia account, using a valid e-mail address, and start editing articles.
All changes are then patrolled by the Metapedia administrators, who can easily undo unwanted changes, and also ban the offending user and/or IP address if needed.
This is an open approach that makes it easier to recruit new writers for the project. It also opens up for vandalism, but it is very easy to revert the vandalized articles.
Another setup, which is currently used by the Swedish version of Metapedia, does not allow new users to register themselves.
Recruiting is done internally; the Metapedia administrators can add trusted writers (friends, organization members, etc.) as users on Metapedia.
Unknown people who are interested in becoming Metapedia writers can send an e-mail to the administrators (E.g. email@example.com).
The person is then verified, and if he is found to be OK he is added as a Metapedia user and can start writing articles.
Users can have different permissions. The standard levels are:
- Normal user – Can create and edit articles
- Administrator – Can patrol and undo changes, block users and IP addresses, etc.
- Bureaucrat – Can change the permission levels on other users
Anonymity for the users
The Metapedia users are added with a user name, a password and an e-mail address.
If an anonymous user name and e-mail address (E.g. hotmail) is used by the user and only a few trusted people know his real identity, he/she can edit articles with total anonymity.
In extreme cases the person can also use a proxy address to hide his identity (IP address) from the server logs.
Protection against hacking attempts
The Metapedia project uses the MediaWiki software, a secure application that is also used by many other internet projects, like Wikipedia.
The server that is hosting the web site needs to be securely configured and kept up to date with the latest security patches.
The MediaWiki software also needs to be updated quickly when new security fixes are released.
The Prometheus foundation, which is the entity behind the Metapedia project, provides free web hosting and takes care of installing required security updates to keep the Metapedia site secure.