Thanks, Chris, for also sharing your community feedback. It’s good to hear I’m not alone.
I’ve actually been contemplating rejiggering the category setup in my community to streamline the categories and have fewer of them. This is veering a bit off topic but I’d be interested in understanding how Angus thinks we should be using categories including the events category. It seems to me that some communities use more functional category distinctions, e.g. for events, discussion, off topic, feedback, howto (wiki) etc or to separate languages, or to provide subsets of private categories. Tags can be used more consistently to make related topics more discoverable. In my community to date we’ve had thematic categories and thrown all the different kinds of topic into them, excepting private categories and other languages.
There has been some push back to my proposals to do this - I think people like to find and connect with their sub-tribes within the community, based on the issues they are working on. I also am turned on by the idea of having events separated into themes which then look pretty in the calendar and can be filtered.
But on the other hand, coming back to this feedback from Chris, I agree that the event dates button is too prominent for civilian use as the vast majority of topics will not want event dates and people will just be confused by it. So unless and until it is moved somewhere more subtle, like the post options menu, my inclination is to install the events plugin and limit to moderators/high trust levels the privilege to add topics to the calendar. I will then directly train the people who have this privilege, starting with moderators. They (and mostly I) can then add the events to the topics that warrant them.
And another thought: there has been discussion about more posts in topics being allowed to be given event dates. If this were to happen, then it even makes sense to have the button in the post options and it can appear for all posts even replies (but again, only to people who have the privilege and tucked away).