In 1995, artist Ken Goldberg fitted a $40,000 robot arm with a webcam and mounted it in a trough so that “virtual gardeners” from anywhere in the world could plant seeds and water them. After every hundred hits they were given the option to plant more seeds.
Organizers found that the users tended to discuss nature, technology, and interpersonal connections, with virtually no abusive language. They would ask one another to water their plants during vacations and would sometimes plant seeds “strategically” in order to be near one another. The community shared their sorrow at the death of one gardener, and a couple got engaged.