Troubleshooting FAQ

General checks

  • Check that you are using the latest version of ConvoKit

  • Verify that your installed package dependencies for ConvoKit satisfy ConvoKit’s versioning requirements

  • If possible, use a Unix system, i.e. Mac OS or the Linux distros. We advise against using Windows, but Windows speakers may consider using the Windows subsystem for Linux (WSL) instead.


OSError: [E050] Can’t find model ‘en’. It doesn’t seem to be a shortcut link, a Python package or a valid path to a directory.

As mentioned in the installation instructions, one needs to run “python -m spacy download en” so that a model ‘en’ exists.

However, there is a secondary issue specific to Windows machines:

python -m spacy download en appears successful but actually fails to link the downloaded model to spaCy [Windows]

_images/windows-failed-spacy-link.jpeg _images/windows-failed-spacy-load.jpeg

The output from the command suggests that linking is successful and that spacy.load(‘en_core_web_sm’) should succeed. However, a closer inspection of the first set of outputs reveals an error message: “You do not have sufficient privilege to perform this operation.”

The operation referred to is the linking of ‘en’. This issue has been raised here and has been acknowledged as a bug.

The solution is to either do the installation in a virtualenv (where the privileges required for linking is lower) or run powershell as administrator.

error: Microsoft Visual C++ 14.0 is required. when installing SpaCy [Windows]

SpaCy, one of ConvoKit’s dependencies, itself has an assortment of dependencies (e.g. murmurhash, cytoolz.) On Windows, these must be built using Microsoft Visual C++ build tools to be built properly.

The build tools can be downloaded from Microsoft here. Take care to not confuse these tools with other Microsoft distributables.

error: command ‘gcc’ failed with exit status 1 [Mac OS]

This is an error encountered when installing the SpaCy dependency for ConvoKit on MacOS. The solution is to link the required C++ standard library explicitly, like so:

>>> CFLAGS=-stdlib=libc++ python3 -m pip install convokit

urlopen error [SSL: CERTIFICATE_VERIFY_FAILED] certificate verify failed [Mac OS]

This is an error encountered when using the function without having SSL certificates properly set up.

An explanation for this error is detailed in this site.

The two recommended fixes are to run:

>>> pip install --upgrade certifi

and if that doesn’t fix the issue, then run:

>>> open /Applications/Python\ 3.7/Install\ Certificates.command

(Substitute 3.7 in the above command with your current Python version (e.g. 3.8 or 3.9) if necessary.)