I got scooped on a project I've been working on last week. To be fair, it's been over two years since I first floated the idea, and a year since I gave a presentation outlining how and why the current work I was doing was important. It's a really damn good idea, and yeah, someone else probably would have figured it out eventually had I not floated it. But I definitely did some ground work in outlining how it might work and what the generalized impact of such a development would be. I presented a vision, and have been slowly working on one way to achieve it for the past few years. To be fair, I've been working on getting a version of it done, but it's taking a while. I'm slow.
Another team in the space launched a working version of the idea last week. I think the other team's implementation is, in a lot of ways, strictly better than the approach I've been taking and that it will largely fill the vision I had of how such a project should work, but I have some thoughts about how the work I've been doing and my voicing of the idea was reflected in their presentation.
To be fair, I wasn't the first person to float the idea, but I definitely was the first to present on it and post to a shared mailing list about one way it might be achieved. The mailing list post was acknowledged in the whitepaper (wow, I got cited in a whitepaper!), but, weirdly enough, with a co-author. The mailing list post I wrote didn't have a co-author. Why would the citation include one? Well, at the bottom of my email I credited someone else for having suggested the idea to me. In a sense, the mention of someone else was a citation of a conversation I had had.
I'm not very familiar with how citations work, but I don't think it's common for someone cited in an email to be listed as an author of that email.
I feel a bit like I got 'chaperoned' out of the work I've done promoting the idea, and being the first to articulate the impact such a development might have on the whole network. In fact, the paper claimed for itself the novel invention of an idea I had outlined in a presentation a year early.
Man, in writing this post I feel a certain naivete. I'm so new to 'research' communities and 'credit' etc. Complaining about this feels really petty -- they shipped first. Their project works. Mine is getting close, very very close, but it's still, realistically, months away from existing. I think it's fair that they get credit for the project they've shipped and for being the first ones to bring it to market.
I feel pretty validated that the idea I championed was so correct and strategic that the other team put months of work into building a really great working version. At the end of the day, liqiudity markets are a sorely needed thing for the lightning network, and I am really sorry that it's taken such a damn long time for my version to get shipped. It's coming though, I promise! Haha.
In fact, I don't think I'd really care so much, if there wasn't that weird thing where the paper that scooped me had listed the man I cited as the source of the idea as an equivalent author of said email.
How to Fix It
I don't really know how to fix this, either in the specific or the general case of being miscredited for things I've done or worked on. Generally I'm pretty ok with being forgotten about, but I'm not ok with someone else receiving credit for an email I did.
The simplest thing to do would probably be to submit a PR fixing the email citation, but yeah I do feel a bit embarrassed about being petty about it.
It'd be odd to write an entire post on citations without actually giving any so, here's the email I wrote back in November of 2018. Proposal for Advertising Channel Liquidity.
Here's the paper where it's cited: Lightning Pool, citation #28.