Next Thursday, October 6, we’ll be introducing a very exciting redesign of Gothamist, including a robust new homepage design, new newsletters that will help you keep on top of the day’s crucial news, and a new commenting system designed to foster conversations.

Starting this week, a lucky handful of you will be getting a sneak peek as part of our testing. During this short testing period, two versions of Gothamist will exist: one with the current site without comments and a second one with the new design and new commenting system.

This is what you need to know about the changes:

What will happen to comments on Wednesday, September 28th?

The current Disqus comment platform will be disabled on Gothamist at 10am on Wednesday and you will not be able to comment on the current site. The new comments powered by OpenWeb will be live on the beta site. Some of you will be randomly selected to view the beta site. If you're not selected and want to opt yourself in, visit the comment section on any Gothamist story on the current site and follow the directions.

Will I need to make a new account in order to keep commenting on Gothamist?

Yes, if you want to keep commenting, you will need to make a new account. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for us to migrate existing commenter accounts from Disqus to OpenWeb. Believe me, we tried!

We’ll show the new site design, including the new comments, to 20% of our audience for at least a week starting on Wednesday, September 28th. During that test period, two versions of Gothamist will exist: the current version of the site and the new design. Most of you will see the current site and some of you will be randomly selected to use the new design.

If you are randomly selected to see the new design on Wednesday, visit the comment section of any article to create a new commenting account. If you are not selected to view the new design and want to opt yourself in, visit the comment section on any Gothamist story on the current site and follow the directions.

Bonus: I will reach out to the first 150 people to sign up for a new Gothamist account and send them Gothamist merch! This is available to U.S. residents only.


What will happen to existing comments?

The new site will include the full Gothamist story archive and each story’s comments. You will not be able to comment on those older stories. As a reminder, comment threads are open on new stories for 24 hours. We’ll keep this practice with the new commenting system.

Because we are changing the software that powers our comment boards, it may take some time for us to migrate all of the old comments. We are committed to migrating all of the old comments onto the new website.


Will my old comment archive be linked to my new account?

While the old comments will remain on the site, we unfortunately can’t link them to new user accounts.


Why is this happening?

We want to give our readers a better commenting experience. The new OpenWeb system is easier to use, has better moderation tools to limit hate speech and other comments that violate our Terms and Conditions, and it will seamlessly integrate into the new site.


If you have a question about the new commenting system that wasn’t answered above, please feel free to reach out to me directly: vdesouza@gothamist.com