When presenting an idea, especially to a wide audience which isn’t going to pay much attention, it’s certain doom if you make it sound to close to a similar but subtly different idea. The process most people go through when evaluating a new proposal is to first decide whether it’s novel and then decide whether it’s true. If you trigger their duplicate detector, then they’ll automatically pre-load their canned responses and switch off the thinking portion of their brain.

Sometimes, in order to avoid this trap, you have to deliberately alienate the reader. Rather than taking the most direct route to an idea, cast it in unfamiliar terms so that some struggle is needed to grasp it. If it’s completely unavoidable, confront the issue head on by saying that my idea X is not Y. However, this can often backfire by making the digression take over the thrust of the article.

For readers, try reversing the order of your filters. First decide whether something is true, then decide whether it’s novel. You might be able to catch some insight which other people have missed.