Posted by: Jack Henry | September 20, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Joe Baldocky

Each year, we receive reminders not to use real names or trademarked names in our software testing or screen captures. When I’m trying to think up names for fictional accounts, I tend to blend literary names with names off the top of my head, or sometimes I use an online random name generator. One of my favorite names, however, is Joe Baldocky, my former father-in-law’s version of Joe Smith.

I never dreamed that different English-speaking groups would use different names, but this article from the Grammarist blog taught me something new!

John Doe is a name used in American English to denote a hypothetical, average man. John Doe is often used for an anonymous party in a legal action. The name for a hypothetical, average woman is Jane Doe. Other names for average hypothetical American men are Joe Blow, Joe Schmoe, John Q. Public, and Joe Sixpack, the latter referring to a blue collar worker. Joe Bloggs is the name for a hypothetical British man, as is John Smith. Fred Nerk is the name for a hypothetical Australian man, as is Joe Blow, Joe Bloggs, and John Citizen. In New Zealand, the term for a hypothetical man is Joe Bloggs, Joe Blow, or John Doe. In Canada, the hypothetical man is referred to as John Jones or Jos Bleau.

John Doe, Joe Bloggs, Fred Nerk and the other names are terms for anonymous characters. There are many situations where one may need to use an ambiguous name:

1) Legal actions in which the plaintiff or defendant must be kept anonymous

2) Unidentified bodies

3) Referring to an abandoned infant whose parents are not identified

4) When talking about the average American, Englishman or Australian

5) As an example when instructing how to fill out a form

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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