Yeah, as you could already see in that thread, I made my thoughts known, which prompted Philip to edit his rather broad generalization there. To suggest that buying some figures for your buddies to help them out (at retail) is assisting scalpers is pretty whacky. But Philip recanted that, so I'm not quite as irritated about that particular part of the discussion anymore.
But the majority of the discussion was more about whether or not it's "right" (by the collectors code of ethics) to pick something up just to use as trade bait. That's a slightly different animal altogether. I don't really see that as being related to scalping, and it doesn't bother me in the slightest (if done in moderation), but I can see how it might irk some collectors. I'm sure I've probably done that somewhere along the line myself. But it was probably a bit more of a specific trade I had in mind, where say for example, DSJ has a Canadian "Luke Reveal" Vader figure that I want (which goes for about $25), so I may snag something that I know he wants, that I could probably swap for it.
The example at RS was folks picking up an extra Chrome GG Bust, to use as trade bait. Well, I think that's a pretty crafty way to get what you need, and don't have a problem with it, especially if it's just one extra. You start nabbing multiple extras, and then maybe I'd say you're hoarding them a little too much. But to take an extra Chrome Vader, to turn around and swap for say a GG Clone Pilot bust or something like that, doesn't really hurt anyone. You're still swapping a Bust for a Bust, retail for retail. So big whoop.
To me, scalping is pretty easily defined. It's taking current product from retail, and turning around and selling it for more than retail. It's also taking product from retail, with the speculative idea of selling it later on for a profit. That's pretty much it.
But changing your collecting interests later on down the road, or downsizing one's collection, and selling some of your stuff for the going market value isn't scalping. Though I must say I've met a couple of folks on the boards who have sold me things, like a pile of VHTF MOMC Episode 1 figures (like Battle Amidala, Sio, Holo Sid, etc) for retail cost of $5 each, when their current market value was about 5 to 10 times that amount. Definitely some of the most amazing and fun collecting moments I've ever had in this hobby, that's for sure.
Sometimes it works that way, sometimes not though. But I think for the most part, we all know what "scalping" is, and we obviously don't condone it. But we also have a lot of very active and clever traders here, and finding a good piece to bargain with to find something you need is just good economics in filling holes in your collection. Just don't trade it with your local comic shop scalper is all...