Talk:John Q. Public

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Collective Noun[edit]

This was touched on by the user Nolefan32. Isn't John Q. Public often used as a collective noun to refer to society as a whole, or at least by a group of people to denote the masses outside the group? Google "a member of John Q. Public," then google "a member of Average Joe," to see my point. (talk) 02:39, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

Fred Nerk[edit]

I notice that Fred Nerk redirects here. (The name is also referenced, although not linked, from the John Doe article. Was the name Fred Nerk around before the Goons used it, or was it an invention of the Goons'?

Since it redirects here, should it at least get a mention? 00:19, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Incidentally, Fred Nurk (an alternate spelling of Fred Nerk) redirects to John Doe. (The above comment was also from me, I just failed to log in.)

Rosuav 08:47, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Difference between John Q. Public and Average Joe[edit]

What's the difference between John Q. Public and Average Joe (and John Doe)? Puck (talk) 12:43, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

The role being referred to. John Doe is pretty specifically a participant in a court case, or at least a suspect or the subject of a subpoena. John Q. Public is a citizen with political opinions, possibly a voter. --FOo (talk) 09:27, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

A John and Jane Doe is somebody who is usually unknown (such as a cadaver or incapacitated person). -- (talk) 17:46, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

In most cases I've seen, "John Q. Public" is used in reference to pretty much all of America at once, to personify the masses, i.e, "Senator, do you really think this bill will go over with John Q. Public." In other words, it's a singular term used plurally. "Average Joe" describes an idealized non-descript average person, especially when you have a specific individual in mind - "Bob fashions himself to be just a regular Average Joe." "John Doe" is a term used in legal arenas to give an active name to someone who isn't known or identified, such as a suspect who's identity isn't known or a victim of amnesia or a person that refuses to give their name. Nolefan32 (talk) 14:26, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I agree, I think the two pages ought to be merged. I'm not sure how to formally suggest that. Brauden (talk) 19:48, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Okay, I think I've done it. Commence Merging discussion? Brauden (talk) 19:57, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Mm, also Joe Shmoe. For such a regular guy he goes by a lot of names. Brauden (talk) 19:59, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Support a merge, at least of the lists of foreign variants. Please continue the discussion here. —  AjaxSmack  02:19, 18 March 2013 (UTC)


Sean Citizen might be the Irish equivalent (Sean is a Gaelicization of John). Can anyone verify this? (talk) 08:27, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Obama Citations[edit]

Citations at end have disappeared. Result of page change, addition? I figure content was copied from some Obama article and citations didn't accompany it--easy fix, if this is the case, once the right article is located. CrashCart9 (talk) 07:01, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Joe the Plumber[edit]

I reverted the reference to Joe the Plumber for two reasons: First, it's a flash-in-the-pan news event, and not (yet) the coining of a term in general, widespread usage. Secondly, the term Joe the Plumber actually refers to a specific, politically opinionated plumber actually named Joe, and most uses of the phrase seem to refer to him, not a general member of the public. coljac 11:57, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

I would agree there doesn't need to be any references to Joe the Plumber in an article like this. While the term was used frequently by the McCain campaign to mean Middle American voters, it was never used as a generic - in every usage, it used to mean "other people who can relate to that guy in Ohio". I don't ever see it catching on as a mainstream term to replace (or be the same as) Average Joe, John Q. Public, Joe Sixpack, etc. Nolefan32 (talk) 14:30, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I doubt the Hebrew explanation is right[edit]

Nobody who speaks Hebrew would use sh'mo as a noun. It is always used as "ma'sh'mo," similar to "whatshisname". (talk) 01:50, 5 December 2008 (UTC)


This article is (particularly after some edits I just did) very U.S.-centric - but it appears that John Q. Public is a term used only, or almost only, in the U.S. If that's not the case, then it will need to be reorganized. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 22:02, 10 January 2010 (UTC)


Japan 山田 太郎 (Yamada Tarō), 山田 花子 (Yamada Hanako) are only ever used as default example names in the way Joe/Jane Smith are and do not have a meaning like John Q. Public at all. I'm not sure about 名無しの権兵衛 (Nanashi no Gombei) or 何野 某 (Nanno Nanigashi) however. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:39, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

  • I've seen 田中 太郎 (Tanaka Tarou). Is that unusual? It's certainly more like "John Smith" than "John Q. Public" in that it's definitely not a character, though. I suspect that's true of many of the international examples, though... -- (talk) 20:36, 14 December 2010 (UTC)


As a native Chinese I have never seen use of Chen Xiaoming on any kind of media in the same sense as that of J. Smith. Please get it removed. The names listed under Taiwan's section (Zhang San, etc.) are more like what we are using here to refer a man on street. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nrgbooster (talkcontribs) 02:10, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

G Raymond[edit]

I'm a bit uncertain about including George Raymond, as this is a real person at VISA (credit card) in Montréal. The "G Raymond" placeholder on most Chargex/VISA example cards in Canada abbreviates his name, but this is only an example name for that one card type. K7L (talk) 13:02, 1 May 2013 (UTC)