The other day, I downloaded a mod for UT2004. It was a .ut3mod file, so there was no way for me to know that it had readme.txt in it. The readme.txt in the mod replaced the UT2004 file, and after I read it I found it was about 4 lines long, saying nothing but “Thanks for downloading this mod!” Again and again.
I have experienced this countless times in many games, and it’s time to put a stop to this idiocy.
So, I decided to write this little article.
There are 3 main things to consider in a readme file.
1.) Relevance
This is one of the biggest problems. Many times I’ve taken the time to read a readme, and it’s nothing but an advertisement for some site and some other useless information.
Keep everything in your readme file related to what it’s a readme for! If I’m reading a readme for a video game, I don’t expect to find info about how to use my washing machine. Keep it related!
2.) Filename
This is the biggest problem with readme files I’ve ever seen.
Think of this: every game out there has a readme file. Over 90% of those readme files are “readme.txt,” “readme.doc,” or “readme” with some other file extension.
Then think of this: Over 90% of user files use files with the name “readme”. This will overwrite the official files, but it’s also important to remember that if you simply use “readme,” it’s quite likely that your readme will be overwritten the next time the user downloads a file. Use a filename that’s original!
3.) Filename again.
Yes, it’s that important.
I hope you uneducated fools will learn something from this.


Lark on May 03, 2004 04:00

Pretty nice article, but there’s not much of a problem with the readmes in J2O uploads… not that I read them, anyway.

I’ve found it quite effective to do things like reverse psychology (or whatever it’s called) with readmes. For example, if I downloaded something and it included the file, “dontreadme.txt,” I would be more tempted to read it than I would a readme.txt.

Violet CLM on May 03, 2004 04:00

Checks “readme.txt” file
Overlord’s instagib pack.

And that’s overwritten a lot of readme.txt files over the ages. I agree entirely.

JelZe on May 09, 2004 04:00

Ahem, you don’t have to extract the readme’s in order to read them, not if you’re using WinZip. If you click on a file in an archive, WinZip will extract it to a temporary folder and run the program linked to the type of file, in this case, Notepad for .txt files. How many times do you want to read them anyway? I just read them once and that’s it.

- JelZe GoldRabbit =:3

P.S. Yes, I’m aware that WinZip sometimes has problems doing that, but 9 out of 10 times, it works fine :p

Blackraptor on July 25, 2004 04:00

I like writing readme files. I usually name them something pointless and long like “Blackysomethingreadme” or something retarded like “Feedme”. ++Pointless readmes.