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Is there a term for the coincidence that occurs when an issue ONLY occurs until the moment that you ask someone else to watch or help you resolve it?

For example, having an issue with software until you try to show someone, then it stops being problematic. Or an issue with the computer/phone that resolves as soon as a help ticket is put in.

The final example is when you have a problem with your car (funny noise, etc) - you hesitate taking it in for weeks because you know it will disappear as soon as the mechanic drives it...then it does.

This is different than a Heisenbug, where the action of applying a debugger, for example, changes the behavior of the activity being watched. It's also different from a 'works on my machine' scenario, where only the original user has the problem.

What is it called when a problem resolves itself just by the mention of it? Jinxing the issue? :)

I see this every day supporting my software product -- the users are experienced and are not making mistakes at one time then doing something different when I watch. The problems also truly resolve (coincidentally) as soon as they ask for help - they do not reoccur. I guess it's a case of synchronicity?

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, jimm101, FumbleFingers, Hellion, Andrew Leach Oct 7 '16 at 17:54

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • One of the questions put forward at the previous link shows that this is covering the same ground, and Cursed's answer below mirrors one there. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 7 '16 at 16:11
  • Personally I use demonstration effect for this. – Bookeater Oct 7 '16 at 16:13
  • @Bookeater No arguing with that one (the duplicate). Can you hotlink? – Edwin Ashworth Oct 7 '16 at 16:13
  • I see this every day supporting my software product -- the users are experienced and are not making mistakes at one time then doing something different when I watch. The problems also truly resolve (coincidentally) as soon as they ask for help - they do not reoccur. I guess it's a case of synchronicity? – T. Bennett Oct 7 '16 at 17:06
  • I'm not sure what it's called, but it's the phenomenon that makes Rubber Duck Debugging (or simply Rubber Ducking) such a useful technique. "A very simple but particularly useful technique for finding the cause of a problem is simply to explain it to someone else... the simple act of explaining... often causes the problem to leap off the screen and announce itself." – Gnawme Oct 7 '16 at 17:46
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The closest thing I can think of is Sod's law, that as soon as you have an issue and ask someone to take a look at it, it suddenly resolves itself.

  • Welcome to EL&U! We strive to provide objective and well-researched answers. As it happens, I agree with your thought but one-liners are likely to be deleted as they show a lack of research. If you expand and provide evidence, this could become a great answer! Take the Tour and see How to Answer for more. – BladorthinTheGrey Oct 7 '16 at 15:50
  • This is good, but overly broad. I've heard Repairman syndrome, but the problems do not resurface usually. – T. Bennett Oct 7 '16 at 18:22
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    @BladorthinTheGrey I would have out this as a comment but I did not have the reputation – Alex Robinson Oct 7 '16 at 18:35

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