This is super nice, thanks for putting this template together. So in general I think it’s also important to keep in mind what the Readme file is originally for (not saying it can’t be used in different ways).
Usually a readme is a file that, well, authors of a software want users to read. Most of the time this includes information about how to install the thing, or even a few gotchas to keep in mind that people could run into.
However, with GitHub and the ability to read readmes right in the browser, this has changed a little and people tend to use it more and more as a “presentation” kind of file, to let people know what the project is about, how to install and use it and where to find help.
So with that in mind, I believe your templates are pretty much spot on.
There’s one case, however where I think it’d be beneficial to keep the readme short and concise. That is, when the project has a complete documentation on various topics a reader might be interested in (what, why and how / installation / usage etc). If there’s good documentation in place, it’s probably better to drive people towards that and have them actually spend less time with the readme.
As a matter of fact, I believe a lot of people don’t really want to read through every bit of a readme to find the detail their looking for. Often, they just skim through it to find code snippets on how to install and use the software.
A very good example of that is Angular’s readme: https://github.com/angular/angular/blob/master/README.md
Notice how it simply gives you a punchline about what this project is a about, a link to the quick start, links to where to find help and the changelog.
^ This makes a lot of sense, because usually that’s information you want to find quickly. However, the bread and butter of all of these things is actually covered in the docs.
I was planning to do the same thing with Embark’s repository (/cc @iurimatias)
**So I guess, bottomline: **
If you don’t have good documentation in place, putting the essentials in the readme is a good idea. However, if you do, it’s probably better to keep it as short as possible and refer to the official docs.
Hope this makes sense.