I sent a paper to a fellow PhD student in my department for feedback. In person, he gave me some comments and implied that he had already considered some of the ideas I had suggested. I recently learned that, about one week after our meeting, a blog post was published anonymously containing many of the ideas in my paper. The blog is clearly written by the student to whom I had sent the paper and contains no mention of me.
Part of why I'm concerned is that if I now try to publish these ideas (in a journal, not a blog), I'm afraid that someone will accuse me of stealing the ideas from that blog post (or dissertation or journal article, if the blog post gets developed further). And, in addition to the possibility of being scooped, there is also the possibility of him having stolen my ideas here. So I'm wondering what to do.
On the one hand, he said or at least implied that he had independently come up with these ideas, and I don't yet have any evidence to the contrary. And I suppose this person's behavior may be what you would expect if he did come up with the idea independently before reading my paper—perhaps he's trying to stake a claim to the ideas before I publish the idea myself. On the other hand, it seems to me extremely fishy that the post was published so quickly after I sent him the ideas. And it also seems wrong (even in a blog post) not to at least acknowledge that these ideas have been independently developed by someone else (namely, me).
- Email this person about it in some polite but non-confrontational way? (But I won't really be satisfied unless he proves to me that he came up with the ideas independently, by sending me a draft that was clearly written before I sent him mine.)
- Tell my or his advisor, or some other faculty member, about the situation and put it in their hands? (But I don't want to seem accusatory.)
- Just ignore it and try to publish the idea as soon as possible?
- Do something else?