A new update to reddit policy has spelled the death of one of the web’s biggest, most popular and most active hubs for craft beer fans to trade their favorite brews—r/beertrade is no more. Formerly located right here, the subreddit was banned today, falling victim to an update to the site’s content policy, and more specifically that policy “regarding the use of reddit to conduct transactions.”
Some of the rationale behind the update makes perfect sense, as it represents a crackdown on certain items and services being sold on the site, including firearms, ammunition, explosives, stolen goods, currency and even sexual favors. But then there’s poor old craft beer, which is lumped into the category of “drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, or any controlled substances.” That’s what resulted in the shuttering of r/beertrade, despite the fact that as the name suggests, beers were being traded rather than sold. When grilled about whether the policy would affect r/beertrade, a reddit employee responded with the following, which has already racked up hundreds of downvotes:
The update does encompass these subs. We considered this a lot, and this change is not due to any bad actions by these particular communities. However, due to the controlled nature of alcohol, Reddit is not built to ensure that the sales are happening legally, and so we can no longer continue to host communities solely dedicated to trading of alcohol or other controlled substances. However, communities dedicated to discussion of craft beer remain fully within the rules.
This being a reddit update of ANY kind, there was naturally a lot of consternation and immediate accusations of hypocrisy/illogical loopholes. For example, the same update shuttered the cigar-swapping subreddit r/cigarmarket, but ignores the fact that the larger r/cigars subreddit maintains an active trading community within it. Does that mean beer traders can just move over to the larger subreddit of r/beer, or will that result in one of the web’s best overall beer communities being destroyed as well?
At the same time, sites such as BeerAdvocate and Instagram are probably pretty happy about the decision, given that the trading community will likely be forced to now use their services to carry out trades. Still, traders are likely to miss both the community and simplicity of r/beer’s UI. If there’s a third party site out there that wants to step in and take the role of major beer-trading hub, now would be the time.