I really wish they worked right. the auto-join, as mentioned, is annoying and makes you constantly fight to keep it in order.
The other day, though, I went looking for the formation button. I was sure there used to be one! oh! Its only for fleets? *sigh*
yeah, I'd like to use it to keep my guardians a certain distance from each other, and I'd probably do something similar with flak. Theres a bunch of other little things I would use it for, but to put it honestly: ignoring the fleets option just eliminates alot of annoyances