Two days ago, Emerson joined the T&S team. As the title suggests, he is considered as a "valued associate".

This led me to the question: What is a valued associate and do you have "unvalued" associates?

Note that Who are Stack Overflow Valued Associates? qualifies valued associates as the employees of Stack Exchange inc, but it cannot possibly mean all the employees as all SE employees cannot be moderators, community managers, etc.

So this leads me to the following more detailed question: What are the criteria to be considered as a "Valued Associate"? (as I have not found any blog/MSE post about office managers/cleaners/cooks.

Edit: Just to make things clear based on the comments and the questions in it, I am not including in this question the concept of goodness or badness. Interpret it as you want, but this is not my intention and as a non english native speaker, the usage of the word "valued" made me think of the question.

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    Comments are removed when they're not relevant to the question, my suggestion to start new discussion was technically just noise there so removing it was justified, and no need to mention those things here. Anyway, as for the question itself, I think Stack Exchange treats all its employees with equal respect, and considers each and every employee as "valued", hence the term being used. However, it's just my guess, only SE staff can post actual answer here. Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 6:42
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    My impression is that "valued associate" is the full designation. It's not a combination of designation ("associate") and a qualifier ("valued"). Similar to how "my good sir/lady" exists as a way to address somebody but "my bad sir/lady" is not the same language construct. Or another example might be "Sunday driver" - there aren't six different other drivers for Monday to Saturday.
    – VLAZ
    Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 6:55
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    This took me a second to get but are you asking which types of employees get an announcement when they're hired? If so, I think it's just the folks who are going to be interacting with the community on the site so we know who they are when they posting on the meta sites.
    – BSMP
    Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 6:55
  • @JourneymanGeek well, I agree about tradition but quick Google search didn't give any info about such term being standard, so I'm also curious about its origin in Stack Exchange. Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 7:46
  • Any employee who is paid is literally "valued" so the terminology is accurate. An unpaid intern might be "unvalued." :-) Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 12:43

1 Answer 1


"Valued Associate" = Employee. No employees are unvalued.

In the early days of the company through sometime in 2013 (I think), there were "Valued Associate" announcements made for just about all new hires (on the blog and/or MSE). These are still around if you go looking for it.

At a certain point the company got to be too big to make announcements about each new hire, so the general practice was stopped. We still try to keep it up to announce new members of the Community team (and still keep up the practice of including their employee number in the announcement, as was done in the very beginning for all of the announcements).

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    While at it, I wonder about something for a while. Looks like all new hires to the CM team recently are going through user merge process, which cause various problems, e.g. losing the staff indicator, breaking links to profile that pointed to the original account etc. Why is the user merge required? Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 8:40
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    Wasn't the word some kind of pun by Jeff Atwood, especially considering the numbering scheme with four digits, e.g. "Valued Associate 0003" (space for up to 9999 employees when there was less than 10)? Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 10:18
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    @This_is_NOT_a_forum why a pun? Maybe something like the "6-8 weeks", but can't see any pun in that. Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 12:18
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    @ShadowTheKidWizard I think they all start with a clean "mod" account, and then get to choose if they merge their older account with it. Some chose not to merge and to start off with a clean slate so to say.
    – Luuklag
    Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 13:57
  • Yes, it was a surprise to me when cobhi (with 54 days) replaced you as admin in the Staging Grounds; he also has a moderator tag on SO, but not here on meta, nor has he joined every site; according to tradition.
    – Rob
    Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 0:56

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