Back to the evilness (or not) of Holodecks...I think it can be argued that while there might not be an evility to them, there could be a evilness to their use...consider: within huge parameters, every aspect a world is yours to create...you bring it to life, and when your duty shift comes around, you cease its existence...your desire, your input, your expectation is that of perfection and real life...battle, training, sex, music, intrigue and everything in between is, in your mind, "real"...in no way am I suggesting that the people, places and things in the 'deck are real...but I am absolutely saying that, to us, the Creators, it is, relative to our existence...we experience life relative to ourselves...is not "life" in a sumptuous holosuite also relative...ergo, creating a reality that you can experience with every sense you have is a form of reality that, when you utter, "Coomputer,
End Program", ceases to be...
Ever play Grand Theft Auto
? Those games take place in very detailed worlds populated by hundreds (if not thousands) of artificial people. Should a player suffer an existential crisis every time they turn their game console off?
Moriarty and The Doctor are special cases. Moriarty was the result of a poorly-worded request to the computer that (credibility regarding computer safeguards aside) basically turned Moriarty into
the computer. The Doctor, we are told repeatedly, has a program that is so mind-bogglingly complex that it takes one of the most advanced computers in all of Starfleet to run a single copy of it. I doubt your average holodeck character approaches that kind of complexity.
The problem I have with Living Holodeck Characters, from a viewer perspective - and writer's perspective, frankly - is that there's really no point to them. Until the EMH got his mobile emitter, those rare few characters were sort of tragic, in all that they had was fantasy. Even Vina from The Cage had known all of reality before her accident. And once The Doctor did get his emitter, outside of his innocent fascination with the real world and his invulnerability, he was just learning about The Human Condition. He didn't even have to be a hologram for that.
But all of these characters are at the mercy of the limitations of a writer's imagination. They can't evolve to a perspective that's truly alien to us, otherwise no one could write for it. So, they ALL plateau at the realization and acquisition of Human sentiments and they never evolve, uniquely. They end up being portrayed just as ordinary people who haven't lost their sense of wonder. In that sense, the Holodeck is very evil, because it's not a better or even different song to sing. It just acts as a redress for standard television tropes.
This is a good point. I love the character of The Doctor, and I never had a problem with the mobile emitter, but something was lost by giving the character so much autonomy. Part of the pathos of characters like Data and The Doctor is in the inherent tragedy of their quest to grow beyond their nature. When the writers take away their limitations, they're not much different than any other crew member.