Board Game Play Tracking Using SQLite Part 4: Cleaning Data

My boyfriend and I track all of our board game plays (and we play a lot).  In this series, I’m creating a SQLite database to keep track of all of our data.  If you would like to catch up, I have posted an overview, details on building the database, and populating the database automatically with Python.  In this post, we will go over how to clean up data that maybe wasn’t initially collected very well.

The Issue

At some point, I thought it would be a good idea to try to add last names to everyone in the board game stats app (which pushes the data to my board game geek profile).  This means that at some point, players names on BGG changed and therefore they may be listed under two different names in my database.

A similar issue occurred with anonymous players.  Initially, the app did not allow you to add anonymous players.  In order to handle that myself, I added players named ‘other’, ‘other 2’, etc.  However, the app eventually added anonymous players (with the names ‘Anonymous’, ‘Anonymous 2’, etc).  I would like to merge the ‘other’s with the ‘Anonymous’es.

The Solution

The plan here is to delete the duplicate name(s) from the Players database and update any references to Players in other tables.

First, I need to see all of the people that I think need to be merged.  In order to attempt to quickly see the duplicates, I want to see a list of all of the players in my database and sort them alphabetically by first name:


SELECT * FROM players ORDER BY firstname


This allows some of the names to stand out a little easier.  I will wait to delete anything from this table until after everything else is updated — just in case!

Next, I want to make sure I understand all of the tables that need to be updated.  I think I only need to update the ‘playersplays’ table but I double checked by running:


.schema tablename


for each table in my database.  I could also check the schema I generated using SchemaCrawler.  The check confirmed my suspicion.  Once I know the player ids that I want to merge, I can use the command:


UPDATE playersplays SET player_id = (correct player id) WHERE player_id = (old player id);


I double check to make sure this worked:


SELECT * FROM playersplays where player_id = (old player id);


And then I delete that row in the players table:


DELETE FROM players where player_id = (old player id);


I repeated this several times to make the entries all correct.  After finishing this, I think the data is all correct.  I need to go through Board Game Geek at some point and clean up that data as well in case I ever need to pull it back in.  That will be a project for another day..

Have questions or suggestions?  Please feel free to comment below or contact me.

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