Can anybody suggest how to make this less "opinion based"?

What features are important in a scanner + sheet feeder for old personal documents

In particular, I'd like to keep the question useful to other people doing scanning at home. I do think there's a useful / stable question here, which is the one that emphasizes aspects that are common to users who scan rather miscellaneous document collections for disaster recovery and space saving. So I don't want to end up with it being too specific to me by responding to every comment (it already headed a bit that way perhaps). I think user291737's answer demonstrates there are useful answers to that question.

It would be great if people who think it is can say why, and how to remedy that. I'm unable as the questioner to see the "primarily opinion-based" nature of it -- I'm guessing that, rather than being a problem with the question as I intended it, this is because of some tacit assumptions I have that other people don't share, but I don't really know.

I've already edited the question to clarify in response to comments, but the question hasn't yet received enough votes to re-open.

I can see that the title sounds a little "opinion based", but I had hoped the actual question content made up for that. I find it tricky to always make the title say exactly what the question is asking for, while still providing a quick summary that allows people to see if they might be interested in the question.

  • 2
    It's not opinion-based, really. I reopened it.
    – slhck
    Apr 3, 2015 at 14:49
  • @CroadLangshan - I don't see a way. The question asking what features in a scanner are important to do a specific task. What one finds important another might not. The question itself lead to several different answers, from my perspective, that indicates a problem with the question.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 6, 2015 at 12:01

1 Answer 1


Personally, I don't think it's primarily opinion-based, as much as based on false assumptions.

Feeding highly variable types of paper with possible weird features (embossed notarized seals, weird thicknesses and sizes, holograms, bar codes, QR codes, carbon paper, different types of paper stock, etc.) into a document feeder is just begging for a paper jam every 3rd or 4th sheet. I don't know of a document feeder that can cleanly handle a wide variety of weird types of papers and thicknesses.

The safest thing I can recommend, so you don't crumple or damage your documents accidentally, is to not use a feeder at all, but rather to use a flat-bed scanner. Take each side of each page, gently place it on the flat bed, close it, scan it, flip it over if necessary, repeat. It's a lot more work, but you'll end up with way fewer crumpled/torn/smeared personal documents at the end.

Thinking about this, I'm not even sure if I could provide an answer to your question, since I disagree with the premise. But I wouldn't vote to close it, either. Maybe the original unedited version may have been close-worthy, but it seems you could keep it open now.

However, I really would suggest that in the future, rather than assuming a particular solution to your problem, just tell us the problem (bonus points if you've already tried a solution you had in mind, and it didn't work). This is known as the "X-Y problem" (too lazy to link the canonical question about the X-Y problem on meta.SE...).

For example, you could've asked, How can I quickly scan a bunch of old personal documents? Your question could state that you obviously know that you need to use a scanner, but then say that your concern is that the documents may not get scanned correctly or might get damaged (they're irreplaceable). With that little bit of info, I don't think it would be opinion-based. Also, it's on-topic, since it's about a peripheral (a scanner) that is directly related to computers.

  • Here is the link to the x-y problem.
    – Cfinley
    Apr 3, 2015 at 14:54
  • Thank you, I think you're probably right overall. Do you think I should edit the title now? Ironically, the parts you (reasonably) most object to are really a misleading result of trying to edit in response to comments: in fact though some documents are highly miscellaneous, most are flat A4. Also, it does seem the problem I actually have is knowing about features (since that's what prevents me starting), and not about "how to quickly scan a bunch of old documents": most people do know how, in outline (get a scanner), so I suspect answers to that would be unhelpful because too generic. Apr 3, 2015 at 15:11
  • 1
    I'd also add, the proper solution would depend on the age of the paper, and how crumbly it is. If its really old/decayed paper, a camera at a fixed distance and focus, the way google scans books, a remote trigger and a few other odds and ends would work well.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Apr 4, 2015 at 0:01
  • superuser.com/questions/343016/… I agree feeders are for a nice pack of similar papers , not bent folded spindled or mutilated :-)
    – Psycogeek
    Apr 4, 2015 at 2:06

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