I've had an idea recently about ideology and how to alter it in order to create a more unique experience with races you choose, and making more sense from a contextual perspective. This isn't a thread dedicated to the usual complaints on ideology (mainly how it tied to colonisation events.)
Currently, we have three types of ideology - Benevolent, Pragmatic and Malevolent, each of these is broken down into four paths that grant benefits to your empire. The concept for calling them this was not only to make each race fit a value system that creates a diplomatic common ground between each other, but to eliminate the tired good, neutral, evil element of ideological choices.
The latter point I believe is mute as things stand. Benevolent, Pragmatic and Malevolent is just another way of saying Good, Neutral and Evil, and the choices made in these represent this too. In terms of diplomatic relations, these also restrict creativity with race creation.
Currently, based on ideology you can create a peace-loving, religious race, a 'strictly-business' slightly isolationist race, or a down-right scourge of the galaxy, enslaving all who come by, leaving little room to create unique races which have 'grey-areas'. What if you wanted a religious race who valued trade and slavery as part of their religion? Or a militant army who value the well-being of their own citizens and keep them prepared and trained for the harsh life of space?
NOW ONTO THE IDEA
What if we could create an ideology for each race based on their personality traits (such as expansionist, xenophobic etc)? These traits would be tied into what ideological choices are available when they are picked in race creation, so for example a race which is 'aggressive' yet 'scientific' would gain both of the 'militant' and 'englightement' ideology traits to choose from. This males a race like the Korx plausible in this game. They would have the 'builder' and 'trader' ideology perks as they are a capitalist society who look to gather resources, but also likely have the 'greed' and 'motivator' traits to show their dedication to 'profit first'. This means that their personality traits would be 'greedy', 'trader,' 'expansionist' and a new personality trait such as 'motivated' or 'slavers'. It would make races feel less like 'good vs evil' but instead give them a more dynamic feel.
This could also make diplomacy a little livelier, in that instead of having three ideologies that divide the universe into a battle of 'good vs neutral vs evil' but could actually make how well you initially get on with other races dependent on common interests/ personality types. If two races have 'negotiator' and 'builder', they have common values, meaning this would be a +2 to their diplomacy score. This would make sense both from a gameplay perspective and in lore terms. These traits can also be mutually exclusive, and suffer a negative impact (eg peaceful vs aggressive).
Obviously for this to work, it would require an overhaul of the current system in that a few new ideology strains would need to be completed, or amalgamated to form new ones, as well as altering diplomacy to allow these traits to effect relations. I think it's an idea with legs, and would make both diplomacy more interesting abs allow a little more control and diversity on race creation.
TL;DR - Scrap 'Good, Neutral, Evil' ideology. Transfer these perks into personality traits that can select up to four of.