Sure, passive aggressive is in the eye of the beholder. (yes, I'm full of cliches this morning) Someone may think/feel they are being tactful and someone else may see that as passive aggressive. Someone may think/feel they are being direct and someone else may see that as aggressive.Also, this ties into calling people passive-aggressive as well. I sometimes think one person's passive-aggressiveness is another's blunt force trauma. One person will accuse another of being passive-aggressive, while the accusee will assert they were being direct. Once again, I think it depends on how a person defines direct and how much directness is necessary for them to pick up on what others are saying.
All your scenarios can be effective or ineffective, depending on the situation and the people involved. Sometimes a hint is all it takes to get your message across and sometimes you have to be blunt. Communication styles matter. While you may not get your point across by hinting to someone who doesn't read between the lines, you are equally likely to not get your point across by confronting someone who recoils or retreats at the first sign of any conflict.