What it is
Can flipping is simply stealing from a jetcan. This act flags the person taking from the can as a suspect. There are two main ways of can flipping
- Taking from the can, gauging the reaction, then coming back in an industrial and emptying it
- Placing their own jetcan next to the targets and transferring all the material from one to another
Why do it?
Why do people can flip? Is it to profit from AFK miners? It may seem so, but this is rarely the case. Most can flippers are attempting to get you to fire on them. How? By stealing from your jetcan, you are legally able to fire on them. However, as soon as you fire on them, they can fire on you as well. Why are they attempting to get you to fire on them? Because they (and probably some of their friends) are trying to destroy your ship. And even if you do destroy their initial ship, they will come back with something much more powerful, because they can fire on you freely for 5 minutes.
Note that if you have combat drones in space set to aggressive behaviour, they will NOT engage someone who flips your can on their own initiative. You can find the drone behaviour options in the drone settings window, which you can open by clicking on the white triangle in the top left of the drone control window when you're in space.