A good rule in life is always assume other people mean what they say, and avoid reinterpreting what they sy and do in a way that is unfavourable to them.
At the same time, if you like, you can work out the other permutations of what they might mean, so as to be ready if it turns out they are conniving bastards after all. But you keep them to yourselves, and discard them if it turns out they were being straight with you. Which most people are most of the time, in spite of everything.
And I've just had another look at Guest Jiohn Evans opening post on the "fat" thread, and I just cannot see anything offensive in it, or to suggest that there is any sneaky or disruptive intent in it.If he'd headed it "Why are Americans so big?" I can't see anyone seeing it that way. Is "fat" really seen as such a taboo word? I mean, if he'd said "gross", maybe - but "fat"?
Is this another of these situations where words have different offensiveness loadings, according to which side of the Atlantic you live on? Which is one of the themes bein g explored in BS Improper language