re: Still fuzzy on what happened here because the settings that are in place now appear to be some that I already tried, but who knows?
The role capability settings was the only settings I changed. My guess in the trial and error in each instance the manage capability was still granted allowing any author to make edits.
re: Also, to confirm how this works… if a new user has been added either via our “Simple membership” plugin or through the regular WordPress “Users” panel, and that user goes to the directory for the first time, they should see a link that will allow them to ADD an entry, correct? Is that how the “Link” plugin works? Or should it automatically create and minimally populate a directory entry for a new user?
No, it is not automatic, the user will have to create their entry separately.
Hope that answers the questions thoroughly.