i ran into this issue yesterday, there is two similar issues on this forum, none of them helped me sadly, but i managed to figure it out what went wrong:
So the specs: nodebb v.1.18.x with PostgreSQL 13.5
- in one point my linux instance was ran out of disk space, so both nodebb and psql was shut down
- freed up more than a GB space, did a restart on the instance
- psql did restart nicely, but nodebb refused to start normally, only in dev mode
I did nodebb upgrade and wiped/reinstalled node_modules aswell, none of them helped (it did behave exactly like this thread descibes: https://community.nodebb.org/topic/10476/nodebb-start-not-working)
So ultimately what helped for me is that i removed the pidfile by hand from nodebb root directory, it had zero byte file size.
I suggest that maybe you dev guys add a force start/stop to the launcher options and handle this special case.