rain dance
n. A mostly ceremonial sequence of actions performed in the hope that they will solve a computer problem.
Rain dance — Used for any desperate action taken to correct a problem and originally used for computer hardware — reseating circuit boards, reconnecting cables, etc — as if that will magically fix an awkward bug.
—Bob Low, “Hacked off with the Net,” Daily Record, November 04, 2000
1991 (earliest)
rain dance: n. 1. Any ceremonial action taken to correct a hardware problem, with the expectation that nothing will be accomplished. This especially applies to reseating printed circuit boards, reconnecting cables, etc. "I can't boot up the machine. We'll have to wait for Greg to do his rain dance." 2. Any arcane sequence of actions performed with computers or software in order to achieve some goal; the term is usually restricted to rituals which include both an {incantation} or two and physical activity or motion.
—Eric S. Raymond, “The Jargon File,” February 14, 1991
Filed Under