I've been sitting around doing exactly what you just described, trying to either get some of my remaining Hoth heroic missions done or get a group for Colicoid War Games. There are current 5 people, including me, on Hoth and a whole 3 people on Belsavis. I've whispered them all, spammed my share of General on fleet AND the planets in question, and after two hours I have not progressed one bit.
This is NOT a user-friendly system. In fact, it isn't a system at all. Basically it is just a way to list people in different zones of the game. That's it. The notion that it is fine and dandy to make people keep endless lists of people, make dozens of whispers and waste hours of time to just do one flashpoint is simply beyond me. It is absolutely ridiculous and there is no justification for it.
What is even more ludicrous is that people insist that it "supports and builds the in-game community."
What a load of crap. We had the exact same thing in WoW for years and it didn't build a darn thing. All it did was force people to essentially maintain pages and pages of "friends" that they mostly didn't even know, spam their whispers and run around in cities, inspecting and begging people to go run instances with them. I remember it really well, you honestly couldn't sit still more than 5 minutes without someone whispering and asking you to an instance.
Most people I knew admitted they had no idea who the people on their lists actually were. If they ran a dungeon with someone, they just added them. Other than that, it was simply a cycle of nameless nobodies that they whispered through every time they wanted to run a dungeon or put together a raid, and even with endless people on your lists it could take hours to get a group together. Not to mention the fun when people got bored of waiting and left, or the further fun when people excused themselves during the dungeon itself and you had to go back to the cities to spam some more channels.
It isn't a realistic system and it builds absolutely nothing, other than blood pressure and crankiness.
Very well said.
Ultimately, the pro-Dungeon Finder group will win on this point, simply because of demographics. Unless Bioware can conjure a steady flow of new subscribers -- or folks rolling multiple alts -- to keep the pyramid-like level distribution of the launch, eventually you're going to have the torrent of warm bodies that allow the current "system" to operate cut off. When finding groups for Esseles/Black Talon, Hammer Station, and Athiss becomes half the chore it is to find them for Maelstrom Prison and Colicoid War Game, tunes will change with amazing speed.
But I can certainly wait until then. Bioware's got a full plate at the moment and, so long as the new subscriber torrent continues, the facade of functionality in the group-finding system can vainly persist. But an automated, cross-server flashpoint grouping system is inevitable, and peace should be made with that fact sooner rather than later.