It's great to be inspired, but if you truly want to nurture a community with its own identity, then this is probably hurting rather than helping. Focus on them, 100%.
Hubski is a good example of a site that is obviously inspired by HN (it is also coded in Arc, and started as a port), but went off and did its own thing from a community, mechanic, and feature point of view.
Even in your 'How it works' page you instruct users to post and go on about HN again:
>We are hoping that you take the steps to not only read and vote the posts, but also to submit and comment on posts. One of the reasons Hacker News is such a popular and useful site is how the users interact with each other.
It just sort of comes across as commanding your users to post so you can be like HN. That's not compelling. The focus should be on building a place your users want to use, -whatever that takes. What's in it for them?
I hope none of this comes across as harsh. Take the focus of HN and point it at your community with the same passion and obvious admiration, and I think you'll be better rewarded. What does a link aggregator that educators want to use look like? What features does it have? What services does it tie into? Does the command to submit "education related articles" make it a poor fit for what educators want (would a broader directive to simply post on any topic that satisfies intellectual curiosity as HN does be a better fit)?
Stuff like that.
Anyway, good luck namank!
There generally seems to be a knowledge and mutual understanding gap between the tech. and ed. communities that has prevented significant partnerships (though they are sincerely needed)and attempting to recruit educators in this way doesn't seem productive.
That said, I believe the ed. community could take a few pointers from the tech side's approach to idea propagation (and the lack of true preciousness of most ideas) and I would look forward to participating (should you get your registration problems figured out).
That said, I actually agree with creators. The initial member behaviour will set the tone for the rest of the community. If they can use HN to give seed members an idea of the intent, they can build momentum.
Then they can take off the HN references at about ~20 active members..
I still think that the messaging to potential users is really confusing, especially at the most critical point where you are just beginning to try and gain adoption, but I guess I could see it as a strategy of sorts. Didn't quite come across to me as an overt strategy for increasing engagement and instructing community norms, but I could easily be wrong.
As for explicit strategy, my guess is as good as yours!