That's correct, you set it up with a mock database, and npm test inserts its own testing data and cleans up after itself when it's done. No need to have NodeBB running for the testing suite to run.
Does anybody know if the email confirmation feature on nodebb will automatically work when checked? Or do you have to set up a valid external email under settings before enabling it?
@noob you have to have an email on your user account. You have to have an emailer plugin installed, or whitelist your server.