The problem was that turning away from multidimensional characterizations and having all the protagonists adopt similar "good guy" values is not indicative of an "edgy" show. This is drifting even further off-topic, so I'll just refer you to here
for what Shimerman has said about Quark becoming "domesticated" over the course of the show. Domesticating Quark, making him as adorable as he was by the end, was what I meant by dropping the ball.
Well, part of being a protagonist is being the “good guy.” I think they all dealt with that in different ways. And besides, what constitutes “good” was challenged in a number of ways throughout the series with a variety of races, including humans in episodes like In The Pale Moonlight. That’s “edgy” enough to me.
But getting on to Quark, I have to disagree with Mr. Shimerman to a good extent. I think the character changed more (or at least just as much) because of how he was challenged by Ferengi that weren’t misogynistic and what you might consider “bad guys.” His mother and brother had an effect, I think, and the former didn’t spend time with “humans” at all. My favorite challenge to the traditional Ferengi misogyny Quark had been trained to have was the episode that had the ambitious female Ferengi posing as a male working for Quark. He got to see how excellent she was, and by the time he found out that she was female, it challenged his thinking, and in particular, what he had been taught to believe about females. And for him, that clearly was a dilemma.
He’s a liar, a schemer, and even a cheat, but he’s also able to recognize a good investment when he sees one, and a great entrepreneur, regardless of gender. He had grown to like her and admire what she brought to the table by the time he found out that she was a woman, and by then he couldn’t deny the proof that she was just as capable as any man. Deep down inside, I think Quark was always a “good guy” who knew better than to show it very much. Had he not been that way, then I don’t think he would have secretly given her the startup money to live out her dream as a profitable businesswoman in the Gamma quadrant. I don’t think Humans and Cardassians caused him to make that choice; the Ferengi woman did, and it changed him a bit… for the better.