Talk:Brownout (electricity)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Energy (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Energy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Energy on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Electronics (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of WikiProject Electronics, an attempt to provide a standard approach to writing articles about electronics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, you can choose to edit the article attached to this page, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. Leave messages at the project talk page
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.

No references[edit]

The only cited reference pertains to blackouts, not brownouts. Blackouts are involuntary losses. Brownouts are voluntary and are used to lower the risk of a blackout. They aren't drops in voltage. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:31, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

This article is too technical and needs to be rewritten[edit]

This article is too technical and needs to be rewritten. How many average English speakers understand what "voltage" means? How many people understand "unintentional drop in voltage in an electrical power supply system"? How many non-native speakers understand such a phrase? I submit very, very few. A "decrease in electricity" they WOULD understand. So I re-wrote the opening to say "A brownout is an intentional or unintentional decrease in electricity, specifically a decrease in voltage in an electrical power supply system. Electricity still flows, but the power is reduced. For instance, lights may dim, but not go out; they turn darker--browner--but not black. The reduction lasts for minutes or hours, as opposed to short-term, momentary sag or dip." This understandable to nearly everyone I think.

My changes were reverted for being "needlessly vague" but they are demonstratively not! I DID NOT remove ANY specificity. All I did was to explain the technical mumbo-jumbo of "drop in voltage", WHILE LEAVING that very phrase. I am frankly deeply insulted by the actions of User:Wtshymanski. Reverting my edits shows no respect for me or my work. Wtshymanski should have rather changed what was considered "vague" to something more specific. The Wiki way is to build on the work of all editors and not to trash the work of anyone Reversions should only be done in very limited and extreme circumstances. We are all equal and our work should be equally respected.

Regardless of whether my edits are vague or not, the opening needs to be re-written. It is not understandable by anyone who does not understand what "voltage" means. If people understand "voltage" then they understand brownout and wouldn't be reading the Wikipedia article. It should be simply stated in some phrasing like this: a blackout is an interruption of electricity and a brownout is a reduction, but not interruption of electricity. --Bruce Hall (talk) 02:50, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

I think its more useful to give a precise term on the assumption that the reader, if puzzled by it, can look it up rapidly. A reader who knows or thinks she knows what "voltage" is can understand the difference between a reduction in voltage and an interruption in the supply. "Reduction is electricity" is vague and wordy and could be curtailment of the current available, or the times of day at which power is supplied - neither of which is a brownout. It's too bad you feel deeply insulted by this, but encyclopedia articles must be accurate and concise -we don't have the liberty of wasting a lot of the reader's time by padding an article with generalities. --Wtshymanski (talk) 04:31, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
First your thoughts on my edits are not insulting to me. I am not "deeply insulted by this" meaning what you just wrote in the previous sentences, your thoughts on my edits. You may be right that what I wrote was too "wordy" or you may be right that what I wrote was "vague". These thoughts are not insulting. Your actions are insulting and rude to me. Specifically, you reverted my edits. You did not edit my edits. You did not show me and my work any respect. If you disagree with some of my edits, then re-edit, trying to preserve that which you think valuable (e.g. the paragraphing). That is the Wikipedia way, or should be. Unfortunately, Wikipedia is suffering from a lack of new editors and such quick reversions, instead of re-edits, is probably one reason. Why should I spend time on Wikipedia when someone is going to come along and in a bullying way trash all my work with a dismissive, insulting two word explanation of "needlessly vague"? I hope that you understand that what is insulting is your actions, not your thoughts .
Now, onto the substance. I agree with your first sentence that you say the precise term should be there and that is why I did not remove that precise terms. (All I did was rewrite "drop in voltage" to be "decrease in voltage" since drop is more casual and idiomatic and therefore might be difficult for non-native speakers to understand.) So, the precise term is still there and we do not disagree that the precise term should be there
The disagreement comes because I explained the terms, briefly, in as simple language as I could. Two arguments are made against including my explanations -- (1) they can look it up if they think that they do not understand it and (2) the edits were "too wordy" and not concise enough for an encyclopedia.
I think that we can assume and should assume that readers of this article do not understand voltage -- this might be the heart of our disagreement. Will a critical mass of readers who do not understand "brownout" understand "voltage" properly? If they do not, then we should add in a short explanation, will links to more detailed explanation. We should not just leave them to their own devices because t is important to keep up the motivation of the reader. If they come to an article that is too technical and not explanatory enough they may just quit. They may think that the problem lies in them, either that they are not intelligent enough or that their English is not good enough. Therefore articles need to be accessible to the non-technical to encourage them to continue reading. "Voltage" is a more technical term than "brownout". To use "voltage" to define "brownout" without any further clarification is a bit like using calculus to explain algebra or using a five-syllable word to explain a three-syllable word.
I also agree that being concise is important in an encyclopedia, as long as understandability is not sacrificed. Since I assert that a critical mass -- perhaps just a sizable minority -- of readers of the article would not understand "voltage" then I think that we are sacrificing understandability to save ourselves, what, 10 words. I think that we can afford to make the article 10 words more wordy if it makes the article more understandable. Of course, I do not think that what I wrote was perfect, but it was an improvement, at least in part. Additional edits of my edits would undoubtedly make the article more concise and more understandable. Reversion does not improve the article.
I should also point out that while ALL of my edits were reverted, even those that did not change the words. There has been no explanation why those edits were reverted. Was it just easier to revert the changes then to do the hard but respectful work of editing my edits? --Bruce Hall (talk) 12:09, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Brownout in Software Engineering[edit]

Inspired by this Wikipedia article, I have proposed an analogous technique for software[1]: When there is insufficient computing capacity, the software will reduce features -- e.g., no longer display recommendations -- to avoid overload. The term has been picked up by people I never collaborated with and has seen some usage in the cloud computing[2] and software engineering communities[3]. The two provided references are just examples, as the overall list includes at least 50 articles. Can somebody add a section on that?

Cristiklein (talk) 10:18, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

Cristiklein, it's a very interesting idea, but separate from brownouts in electrical grids, so I'm declining your request. With the number of citations you mention, it sounds like a good candidate for its own article, or at the least an addition to a conceptual article about programming. Thank you for asking. BlackcurrantTea (talk) 01:56, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Inspired by brownouts in power grids, the brownout software engineering technique was proposed[1]. If too many users are simultaneously accessing an application hosted online, the underlying computing infrastructure may become overloaded, rendering the application unresponsive. To better deal with such a situation, the application can be added brownout capabilities: The application will disable certain features – e.g., no longer display recommendations of related products – to avoid overload. Although reducing features generally has a negative impact on the short-term revenue of the application owner, long-term revenue loss can be avoided, since users are likely to switching to a competitor when faced with an unresponsive application.


  1. ^ a b Cristian Klein, Martina Maggio, Karl-Erik Årzén, and Francisco Hernández-Rodriguez. 2014. Brownout: building more robust cloud applications. In Proceedings of the 36th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2014). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 700-711. DOI: URL:
  2. ^ Minxian Xu, Amir Vahid Dastjerdi, Rajkumar Buyya. 2016. Energy Efficient Scheduling of Cloud Application Components with Brownout. In CoRR, August 2016, URL
  3. ^ Gabriel A. Moreno, Javier Cámara, David Garlan, and Bradley Schmerl. 2015. Proactive self-adaptation under uncertainty: a probabilistic model checking approach. In Proceedings of the 2015 10th Joint Meeting on Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE 2015). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1-12. DOI: URL: