I'll post an answer because there is too much to cover in comments.
Let me start with the interpersonal issues, since the bulk of the questions were authored by Evan Carroll and there is an appearance, especially to him, that personal animosity was behind this action.
This was not personal, and I don't dislike Evan, as he suggested in his posting here. I don't recall even having any interaction with Evan prior to the TempleOS discussions. A significant number of users opposed the TempleOS threads and discussions got heated. It is natural for someone to get defensive when seemingly attacked from all sides like what transpired then. And I suspect that the TempleOS experience flavored Evan's perception of this activity regarding ReactOS.
Given the potential for this to turn into a repeat, I took the route of posting this question. There was a large number of threads, almost all his, and I didn't want the appearance that this was personal. I wanted to confirm my own perception that the threads in question were off-topic via community input before doing anything. And I posted exactly that in the question to be upfront about it, and to avoid readers interpreting it as bait to have another go at Evan and his questions.
There wasn't a conversation in chat, just a single statement that I posted, which received no response. Perhaps it was poor judgement to post that at all. It was a matter of venting frustration over what looked like the start of another run of threads that I think are a poor fit for the site. The TempleOS questions blew up and then settled down (and I pretty much stayed out of that fray except for what I thought were a couple of constructive comments). Then recently, there were four similar ReactOS questions in rapid succession that looked like the start of another run, and I vented with that statement on Root Access. Not my finest hour and I apologize for that. To be clear, all of this activity and the issues I have relate to the posts themselves, not Evan.
I'll try to expand on the issue of topicality and address some of Evan's points.
As a preface, I couldn't find any Meta discussion on the topicality of developmental software. I actually composed a question to discuss whether it should be off-topic and laid out the arguments pro and con.
When I was done, the system picked up on some keyword in the post and found several threads where pre-release software was discussed. That's how I found what I posted in this question. The issue had already been decided years ago and looked clearly off-topic, along with a precise rationale based on existing site standards.
So I rewrote the question. Based on the prior Meta discussion, I added the proposal to close the listed questions. That was not part of my original draft.
Not every question concerning pre-release software is off-topic. What is off-topic is questions related to problems caused by the developmental nature of the software. That is, issues such as:
- capabilities that are not yet fully implemented
- infrastructure (drivers, DLLs, and the like) that have not yet been provided for
These are expected holes and problems that exist only because the software is still in development. They are things that would be fixed by the time the software is released, so they are transient issues that don't have long-term value on the site.
We have 11 questions tagged ReactOS. Based on a cursory look, I identified three that I thought were clearly off-topic and two I wasn't sure about but thought probably were. The others didn't appear obviously off-topic to me. A couple of others were previously closed. It looks like as of now, a total of 9 of the questions have been deemed off-topic. Clearly, it is not an attack on Evan Carroll's questions.
Evan lists a number of well-known products that are technically pre-release and that are not seen as an issue. Things like Debian Testing and the Windows Previews are pre-release in name-only. Massive numbers of people use, or used, them on a production basis. Clearly, ReactOS is not in the same category as Debian Testing or Windows Preview.
I'm not familiar with many of the packages listed. However, mainstream packages that are industry standards, pre-release in name-only, the version everyone uses, and which are used for production of work output, aren't in the pre-release class that is a problem for the site. Further, they are close enough to "release quality" that they don't suffer from the magnitude of issues that is found in software that is still developmental.
What about the beta versions of the big, popular packages, like the nightly releases of the major browsers, open source office suites, and the like? Those are transient, interim packages. The stable packages are available for production use. Questions not related to development issues should be on topic, but bugs and other development issues should be off-topic.
All of the discussion so far is about beta software. Alpha software is another matter. Alpha software isn't close to ready for prime time. It's unsuitable for use as production software to accomplish the purpose for which it is being developed. There are endless development-related issues that are too numerous to deal with on this site. It isn't an appropriate use of the site to replicate or supplement the developer's support resources.
Pimp Juice IT brought up the fact that ReactOS has no stable release version on the horizon, so questions about it actually would be expected to have a long life here. Aside from the fact that it is subject to major developmental revisions, which would limit the time value of questions, it isn't production software. Nobody relies on it to get their work done, and nobody has "real, practical" problems they need to solve with it to get their work done.
It is shared in its current condition for the purpose of alpha testing. People who want to dabble with it are essentially part of the alpha testing. That's part of software development, and software development is explicitly off-topic. Even if the people who want to dabble with it don't participate in the developer's alpha testing, what they can do with it is their own alpha testing.
Pimp Juice IT mentions using Super User to share workarounds, etc., among the people who want to dabble with it. The fact is that the developers already have a mechanism for reporting bugs, sharing workarounds, etc. Most of Evan's questions involved rediscovering bugs or issues that had already been reported, and then reposting the workarounds here.
Regarding other exceptions Evan cited that have unclosed questions, the system doesn't catch everything. Aside from the packages I mentioned earlier, it looks like there is a small number of questions for the others. Just because they're pre-release doesn't mean they're off topic. If someone wants to go through the questions and make a determination, more power to them. The fact that some slipped through doesn't make them on-topic if they're not.
I agree with Evan that the policy on pre-release software should be incorporated into the site guidance. Regardless of whether we agree or disagree on the value of Evan's threads, he spent substantial time preparing a lot of questions and answers in good faith. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse", but there is still some unfairness to having a significant chunk of effort closed based on policies that should have been readily accessible but were buried.