I did get this working.
I moved the nodebb working directory to /home/nodebb/nodebb and changed ownership of that to nodebb:nodebb, now it starts up on boot as the nodebb user just fine.
Thank you all very much for the help.
thank you man but specify in the documentation that the keys can become obsolete for such as I xD although I took the key from here http://keyserver.ubuntu.com/ . I have some problems but more about this later