Mr. Laser Beam wrote:
Really? Wouldn't that partly defeat the purpose of the episode? Ben, like the rest of them, was a 'lower decks' character. Isn't that the point of all this?
It wasn't the original
point. The point was for Guinan to do her usual listening-to-problems shtick. When Whoopi was unavailable, the writers decided to add one more "lower decks" character to the mix, thus strengthening the script's theme.
I believe this anecdote is reported in the Asherman "TNG Companion", but I heard it from Richard Arnold at an Aussie convention before that edition came out.