Contributor Settings is a new offering in SharePoint Designer for SharePoint sites and allows an administrator to lock down SharePoint Designer features, commands, and menus based on the contributor group that the user using SharePoint Designer belongs to. This is particularly useful in scenarios where administrators (or site managers) want to direct their users to perform only site-editing operations of a specific type (such as creating and managing CSS) and not be able to perform any other operations, thereby saving the Web site from an unintentional or inadvertent site modification.
Contributor Settings isn't a security implementation. It's just a lockdown mechanism that can be used with SharePoint Designer to prevent unintended Web site changes. Only a site administrator can enable or disable Contributor Settings.
The concept of Contributor Settings and the Contributor Mode can be fairly easy to understand if you don't confuse it with SharePoint permissions. This feature is implemented by using Contributor Groups, which can be created in SharePoint Designer and linked to Permission Levels in SharePoint.
To be able to understand Contributor Settings and the Contributor Mode in SharePoint Designer, you need to first understand the concept of permission levels in SharePoint. A permission level is basically a bundle of permissions. For example, the Full Control permission level has all the ...