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Are these questions good or bad? We just closed one on "real analysis", but (also on the front page) I see that one on "design theory" is going strong.
Real analysis is too broad. Design theory, I guess, is suitably narrow. I don't know where to draw the line.
I guess this would not be relevant: International Journal of Design, etc.
@geraldedgar: I am not sure what point you are trying to make.
Sorry, it was pretty weak. I didn't know what "Design Theory" is, although I had heard of "combinatorial designs". So I googled "Design Theory" and found there lots of journals and books on "Design Theory" --- but not mathematical at all. From an outsider: what is the difference in the two tags here: "design-theory" and "combinatorial-designs" ?? But perhaps we should really be back on the original topic: Are questions like this good or bad?
@geraldedgar: thanks for the clarfification. Regarding the tags, on purely formal grounds, since the former refers to the field and the latter to the mathematical objects, there could (in principle) already be a difference in potential use-cases.
On the general matter: IMO, reasonably focused questions asking for an overview of relevant/major/recent problems/directions of research in a (sub)field can be alright. This can be interesting and relevant, and depending on the subfield non-trivial to find out for a non-insider. Of course, this raises the question what is "reasonably focused" and this will be hard to pin down in abstract. [For the real analysis one, I did not vote to close the question right away, and only asked for more details. These were provided to some extent, but then it turned out that the OP's background/motivation in addition might not be an optimal fit for MO, so I agree with the closure.]
@geraldedgar
I didn't know what "Design Theory" is, although I had heard of "combinatorial designs". So I googled "Design Theory" and found there lots of journals and books on "Design Theory" --- but not mathematical at all.
You need to work on your google-fu. My default go-to textbook in design theory is these two volume tomes:
http://www.cambridge.org/gb/knowledge/isbn/item1143906/?site_locale=en_GB
http://www.cambridge.org/gb/knowledge/isbn/item1166043/?site_locale=en_GB
Also, if you say "combinatorial design theory," it might imply a slightly narrower subfield of math than "design theory." We have "Journal of combinatorial designs," but there's no such thing as "Journal of design theory" and the like. So, the publication list of a degin theorist may contain lots of papers in journals outside of combinatorics even if he's a die-hard design theorist. Examples of designs that might not be "combinatorial designs" to some people include SIC-POVM in mathematical physics and cubature formulas in numerical analysis. Such arbitrary categorization has no real meaning to practitioners though.
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