I want to verify whether my assumptions about Google Calendar's "show me as" option are correct (they seem to be correct from experimentation, but maybe I'm misunderstanding something conceptually). I'm sorry that this is a bit long, but what I've found is from experimentation so I felt the need to describe my results to give important context to you respondents. I can provide a working example of what I mean (I maintain a public availability calendar), I just don't want to show that link publicly here because it would reveal my personal email address.
A Google account's "Primary" calendar has a unique ID that's the account's email address. My Primary calendar is set as public and to only show my free/busy information. I have other calendars for types of events I have going on (such as a calendar called "Work" for just my work schedule). If I then invite MYSELF to those other-calendar events, I make my Primary calendar "reactive" to my other calendars because a reactive copy of that event then shows on my Primary calendar. By NOT responding "No" to those invites that show up on my Primary calendar, I seem to intrinsically mark myself as "busy" on the public view of my Primary calendar.
So for example: I have a "Work" calendar, create events on that calendar for my work shifts, and invite my own email address to those events. Then, on my Primary calendar, I don't respond "No" to those invites. In truth, I respond that "Yes" I'm attending, but it would appear that not responding at all (or responding with a "Maybe") does the same thing; the only difference seems to be whether it shows me as "unanswered", "attending", or "maybe attending" in the invitees list of the original event in the "Work" calendar.
I say all this because I want to ask the people here whether the intended behavior of a Google Calendar event's "show me as" option is what it appears to be from what I describe below. It seems from experimentation that it's used to determine the event's visibility to non-invitees. (I haven't found any resource online that makes this behavior clear, so I had to find out through experimentation.)
If the "show me as" of the event is "busy", invitees to that event with an "unanswered" or "Maybe" invitation status seem to be treated as "potentially still attending" and thus will show on THEIR primary calendar's "free/busy" information at that time as "busy" (just as if they had answered "Yes"). If the "show me as" option of the original event is marked as "available" however, invitees will always be marked as "free" (not "busy") in their Primary calendar's "free/busy" information even if they respond with a "Yes" to the invite.
It sounds very unintuitive, but I can see how this could be a useful distinction if for some reason you wanted to create an event that is so optional that you don't want people who answer "Yes" to appear as "busy" in their Primary calendar's free/busy information. Usually though, I just set the "show me as" option to "busy".
If you have a miscellaneous event not already relevant to one of your other calendars, it seems that you can just create an event on your "Primary" calendar and the "show me as" option of the event seems to directly determine whether you're free or busy. On all non-Primary calendars that you make public, the "show me as" feature appears to do the same thing for that calendar's own internal free/busy information, it just doesn't affect the free/busy information of your Primary calendar. Further, if I mark the "show me as" of the Primary calendar's reactive-copy of an event, I then get a warning saying that these changes will only affect the reactive-copy, not the original event.
This all seems rather bizarre and I wish the official help page on this stuff explained it better, but is all of this "operating as intended" or do I have some kind of conceptual misunderstanding that is just coincidentally resulting in this behavior?
Further, if this is all acting as intended, it would seem that Google should outright forbid you from deleting your Primary calendar (the one where the ID is your email address), as deleting it would irreparably ruin your ability to receive invites to events! It currently doesn't forbid this.