I just feel that those questions would be better served by directing people to the mailing lists of their respective software packages. What does the community think?
It really depends on the nature of the question or problem. "Building installers/binaries" is overly vague -- specific examples are required and best handled on a case-by-case basis.
Indeed there can be quirks specific to certain GIS software packages, frameworks or SDKs that are certainly on-topic, but there have historically been a significant number of posts that in retrospect would have been better served by StackOverflow or another site or mailing list.
rpy2 installation on Mac OSX. A still unresolved problem on StackExchange and rpy-list - Off-Topic because while rpy2 may be used as part of a GIS-related analysis, its installation is fairly standard and issues relating thereto should probably be handled on the rpy mailing list or perhaps SuperUser/Unix/StackOverflow.
I don't see why they should be offtopic for gis.se. Here are a few more reasons why they should be allowed:
- The development or coding questions of GIS programms are on-topic. The development of its installer or binary should be on-top, as that is also development.
- Some FOSS software do not have proper build instruction for a particular Operating system, since they do not have anyone with that skillset. Asking the question on the mailing lists might not be useful.
- Where do you draw the line? Almost every question on this site might be asked of some other fourm or mailing list. Once could ask ArcMap usage questions on ArcGIS forums, or you could ask Qgis questions on the QGIS mailing list. Why specifically exclude this subset of questions, when they have to do with GIS software?
- A lot of experienced professionals are present exclusively on this site. A lot of ESRI developers have given up on the ESRI forums and answer exclusively here. Similarly I know a few QGIS developers here. I'm sure that If I ask how to create an installer for an ArcObjects custom tool, I will get an answer here in a few hours, and will take more time on ESRI Forums.
- Finally, and most importantly, according to the FAQ, "The Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is for ... programmers, and anyone interested in or using GIS". These kind of questions will be asked by programmers working with GIS software, and hence should be allowed here.