The Prime Directive is a complicated topic.
The golden rule of Starfleet has always been the Prime Directive, but it has also proved to be the most divisive among fans and characters of the franchise alike. Upon joining Starfleet, officers swore to uphold the prime directive, even at the cost of their lives or the lives of their crew. For those of you who need a refresher here is the simplest definition I could find of what the Directive says;
“No identification of self or mission; no interference with the social development of said planet; no references to space, other worlds, or advanced civilizations.”
What makes the Prime Directive so very controversial, is that it seems to operate on an assumption that all situations that a starship and its crew may come upon while exploring the vast expanses of space will be relatively the same, and invariably they will not, leaving the Prime Directive and any situations surrounding it, greatly up for interpretation.
Let us examine scenarios in which the Prime Directive was violated, and whether it had a positive or negative result on the inhabitants of a planet, and then see if we can decide what side of the fence we fall on.