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Decoding INB4: What Does this Popular Term Actually Mean?

If you are a frequent user of popular message boards such as reddit or if you are an active member of the online community of games such as League of Legends, you must have stumbled across the term INB4 being used by many people. While INB4 is also used on various other social media pages, it is more frequently used by users on different subreddits and discussion forums of various popular video games. In this post, we will satisfy all of your curiosity about INB4.

What does INB4 mean?

In simplest terms, INB4 is the acronym for “In Before”. It’s pretty simple and direct when you look at it. If you pronounce all the elements of INB4 individually, the sound that you will produce will be “In Before.” So if you split INB4 into “ IN” and “B4” and pronounce them separately, you will get the sound “In Before”.

However, that isn’t all you need to know before you start using INB4 in your social media parlance. INB4 needs to be used a certain way online. It’s not as quick and simple as replacing “In Before” with INB4 and expecting everyone to understand what it exactly means. When used improperly, INB4 can leave the readers of your post and comments scratching their heads.

How to use INB4?

While INB4 is popular, it isn’t as ubiquitous as “LOL” or “SMH”. In fact, if you don’t frequently use or observe certain specific online message boards, you’d probably never encounter the term INB4. And if you don’t encounter it, you’ll probably never wonder about what it is. 

The main reason behind that is that INB4 is always used as a part of a conversation, most commonly as a reply. As a result of that, INB4 is really trendy on many geek centric online message boards as the topics shared by users are meant to start conversations, which eventually start displaying a thread of replies from other users.

Users of online message boards tend to use INB4 with a word or comment after it. The goal of the statement is generally to predict a very obvious reaction by somebody else on the message board. So essentially, they are getting their comment “in before” anybody else.

What’s the difference between “INB4” and “First”?

If you are a frequent user of YouTube, you might have seen a trend of people commenting “first” when they watch a recently premiered video which has an unpopulated comment section. INB4 is technically similar to those “first” comments across different social media platforms. Users who chance upon a brand new social media post or a newly premiering video relish the opportunity to show off their status as the first commenter and show off by commenting “first”. This type of reaction usually happens during the initial stages of the content’s publication. As time goes by, the comments start becoming more focused on the subject matter.

While INB4 operates on similar logic and principle as “first”, it always needs to be followed by a statement. “First” can stand on its own as a comment but INB4 by itself is an incomplete statement, so it needs to be followed by a statement which completes the train of thought. 

Here are some ways to use INB4:

1. Let’s assume a scenario where a message board user has published a post on a topic that is against the guidelines and rules of community. Perhaps the post contains profane language or has links to sexually explicit, pornographic content. Now, such a post is bound to be deleted by the message board moderators eventually. However, there will be a brief window of time before the moderators find the post and delete it. During that time, a user who stumbles upon that post, can say the following: “INB4 it’s deleted by the mods.” 

In this scenario, the user’s reply is in anticipation of an almost inevitable action to the published post. Even a reply such as “INB4 b&”, which means “In Before Ban” can be used in this scenario since the user who published a post which flouted the community guidelines, is quite likely to be banned.

2. Let’s take a case where a message board user has started a topic about her dog who tore through her expensive dress collection. The user might also ask other users to share their story if they’ve had a similar experience with their dogs. Now, a few users might reply to the thread and share actual incidents from their lives where their dogs did some damage to their expensive possessions. However, a user can post a reply like this using INB4: “INB4 doge memes.”

What the user is trying to convey is that he is posting this comment before people start replying with the famous doge meme (doge meme features a Japanese Shiba Inu dog with a funny facial expression).

Where can you use INB4?

As we have already discussed, the acronym INB4 is used typically on message boards. Especially on nerdy subreddits and video game forums. Aside from Reddit, you can also find a lot of INB4 comments on 4chan and YouTube. The subject matter of those message boards and videos usually revolves around the geek culture.

In case you try using INB4 on forums of bodybuilding.com or on a message board of fashion and travel bloggers, people might not really understand what you are trying to say. INB4 is a great acronym to use in your online conversations, but it has a limited audience. So if you want to use INB4 in your comments, try to ensure that you are on a geek-centric message board. 

INB4 you use it in our comment section down below.

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