I think you should avoid false modesty, @mandog.
In this community, you cannot deny you are extremely experienced and knowledgeable with 15 years behind you.
What is easy and stable to you now may not be defined as stable by other users. Essentially you are saying “Arch is stable because I know how to maintain it and what to do with the terminal messages that are generated after an update”.
But I agree with that definition of “stable”. If one is able/has the willingness to learn to maintain their system and read update announcements, then Manjaro and Arch are about the same in stability.
If someone says, “I want to use Manjaro/Arch but I just want to blindly click on an “update” button whenever I’m informed of any update, yet I expect it to work stably forever without any intervention by me”, then I say they are setting themselves up for a disappointment. Good maintenance habits in Arch will carry over to Manjaro.
My disclaimer is that I have never installed Arch the Arch way (hehe), but have quite easily been maintaining my former Apricity (now Arch) install since end 2015.
I can’t speak for any other Arch-based distro, but Apricity’s own stuff was very minimal. When the devs closed shop, I removed their small repo and noted their main 2 packages were Google Chrome and pamac-aur both repackaged from AUR. The repo also had their icon set, gtk theme and wallpapers. There were maybe 2 or 3 other small apps which I had removed from the start because I didn’t use them.
Note: I don’t apologise for not installing Arch the Arch way. I came to Manjaro for itself, not because I wanted to say I’m a wannabe Arch user. I tried out Apricity 3 years after I first started with Manjaro, mainly because it looked pretty (total honesty!) and I was curious as to how much more difficult updating and maintaining Arch repos would be compared to Manjaro.
Conclusion: no real difference, and it was nice to use so I kept it. It gives me an early warning as to what issues might hit Manjaro for the next update.
However, I took advice from @mandog and @handy when I first joined the old Manjaro forum to read the “for newcomers” stickies in the ARCH forums and take in their spirit and philosophy. I credit them for proper habits learnt.