Also, I took it upon myself to define stock-android but folks should weigh in about whether that's really what we mean by "stock"
I think a better definition for "stock" is a manufacturer/carrier-blessed ROMs for a particular device, including upgrades. I prefer to define it this way because some people may not realize that they have an upgraded ROM due to automatic OTA upgrades.
And "vanilla" are ROM which attempts to be as close as possible to original AOSP ROMs (e.g. by removing carrier/manufacturer customization and adding none of their own customization). A vanilla ROM may or may not be produced by a third-party.
In particular, only "Pure Google Experience" phones (e.g. G1, Nexus One, Nexus S), had a ROM that is both stock (comes with the device) and vanilla (no manufacturer/carrier customization).
I wonder if we need these tags at all.
People seem to be mostly using them to describe their devices, not to help categorize the question. That's the wrong use for them. Most of the time when I see tags like this or tags for devices, Android versions, or for a specific mod, the issue they're having has nothing to do with any of that. In fact, it makes things worse, because it will lead people to think that a solution that worked for someone's modded Galaxy S won't work for their unmodded Droid X and they'll ask a duplicate question.
But that's beyond the scope of what we're discussing.
I think "unmodified" should be the default position. I mean, unless someone specifies that they've used a mod, then it should be assumed they haven't.
And, unless it's a problem that has been solved by a mod, there's no need to mention that the device in question is not modified.
I suggest then that all three of the tags in question be removed. If there remain any questions where the unmodified state of the device is germane to the question, then "unmodified" makes a pretty unambiguous tag.
Update: I've looked at a few of the stock-android and it's clear that we need to keep this tag or some variant. Many of the questions deal with returning a device to its unrooted, unmodified state. Some others are dealing with the standard Android UI (i.e., lacking HTC Sense, Moto BLUR, etc.). One of the latter, at least, I've tagged with stock-ui (and to which I will add a description post haste).
So now I'm back-tracking on trying to eliminate the three tags originally brought up. When the question doesn't have anything to do with whether the phone is "stock" or not, they should still be removed. However, there are questions dealing with returning to "stock" or comparing the differences between "stock" and a mod or "stock" and manufacturer/carrier customizations. Those, I think, still need to have a tag of some sort.
Perhaps questions about returning the device to its state before it came out of the box should be "factory-setting" or "factory-state". That should unambiguously cover returning a phone to its original state.
After thinking about this some more and looking around online I decided to edit my original answer. (Original Post labeled further down below).
If you look at the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus entry for "stock" you can see that a few other words for "stock" are "standard", "normal", and "regular". So to me, "stock-Android" is the Android that comes in the SDK or from AOSP. Plain and simple. Its the unaltered version of Android that Google puts out for use (this is on "Pure Google Experience" phones as Lie Ryan said). That said it would make more sense instead for it to be stock-android-2.2 and stock-android-2.3 or even better stock-froyo and stock-gingerbread. That way we know exactly what stock Android the person is talking about. Currently stock-android by itself tells us nothing and if you were to search by that tag you would get posts ranging from Android 1.5 - 3.0. And if we defined it is as "android that comes with your phone", when you searched the tag you would get questions that are totally different and might relate to Sense, Touchwiz or Motoblur.
I think Amanda has a good idea to define a tag for the stock ROM that comes on a device - but I don't think stock-android conveys the correct message. Instead it should be something like "stock-[insert device name]" (this would mean a tag for every device) or something like stock-device-rom (so that we could just define one tag and it would indicate that whatever device they are talking about had the stock ROM). Here's actually an example here on Android Enthusiasts where the question and answer refer to "stock ROM" as being the original device ROM not "stock Android"
In all the time I've been playing with custom Android ROMs, hanging out on XDA and dabbling in development (since before Android 1.1 - I loaded stock Android 1.0 on my HTC Tilt before I even got an Android phone) I've never read "stock Android" referring to the stock Android that came on a device. Instead ROM builders would refer to it as a "stock HTC Hero ROM" or "stock HTC EVO ROM". When I was putting Android on my Tilt it was called "stock Android" but thats because thats exactly what it was - plain, default, AOSP Android.
I thought it might help to see some examples of what I mean:
Examples here on Android Enthusiasts:
- How is Android more 'custom' than iOS?
- How can I replace HTC Sense?
- Calendar app on Desire - Can I get Stock Android Calendar?
- Differences Between HTC Sense and Stock Android?
- How can I de-brand my phone? (install stock android?)
Examples from XDA-developers:
- [Q] HTC EVO + Stock Android
- Stock Android
- Stock Android ROM
- [Q] Stock Android
- Petition for Stock Android.
- Stock Android Lock Screen Replacement
Examples from other sites:
I apologize if I'm beating this to death but I think its pretty clear that our users, other sites, as well as Google itself (see the Engadget link) would consider "stock Android" as the unaltered version of Android that Google puts out for use.
That said, if I am still wrong please let me know and if the Android Enthusiasts community thinks differently then I'm down with whatever we all decide to do. :)
Original Post Below:
I think stock-android is a great tag but I'm not sure I agree with the definition. I may be wrong but AOSP ROMs like CyanogenMod are considered "stock Android" and/or "vanilla Android" but obviously if you have this on your device it does not have the original ROM it shipped with.
Maybe a tag like original-rom (maybe stock-rom or something similar versus custom-rom) would be helpful when asking for help with the ROM that shipped with a device. Although nearly every question would have one of those tags. The plus side to that though is it would help eliminate one of the first questions we usually ask "Are you using a custom ROM?"