There have been alot of requests for player crew throughout STO's development, and while it is almost certain that whatever happens will not satisfy everyone, I have a fairly simple idea for a limited player crew mechanic.
1) Forming a crew: To form a crew all you would have to do is invite someone to join your group. If you have a friend who you want to be part of your crew, you invite him(and anyone else) to join your group, and then launch into space.
2) Crew View: Since the mechanics do not currently exist for bridge view combat, lets go ahead and toss that idea out and assume that every member of the player crew would have an exterior view of the ship like we all currently have in game. The difference is instead of everyone having a view of their own ship, they would all have a view of the group leader's aka captain's ship.
3) Function: In a guild, the leader can grant certain abilities to the officers. For example, you can grant an officer the ability to invite other people to the guild. Similarly, the captain of the ship would be able to grant access to certain functions of their ship to the members of his player crew aka group. For example, the captain would be able to grand access to "weapons" to one group member and then that group member would be able to fire the weapons of the ship. The same would be true of "shields" and any other main ship function that currently exists. Of course, the captain would still have full control over the ship's functions, and could still use the weapons/shields whenever he wanted if a group member logged off or went AFK or whatever.
The way I imagine it, there are about 4 main "jobs" that would be open to player crews: steering, weapons, shields, and BO specials. Assuming everyone in a player crew was using voice chat, the captain could tell the crew members where to maneuver, when to fire, what shield to reinforce, and what specials to use.
So to summarize, you invite people to join your group and you launch into space. Everyone see the captain's ship and can perform any ship action the captain grants them access to. When you beam down to a planet, everyone is together like a normal group of players doing a ground mission. If the Devs expand this even more in the future, that would be great. But in the mean time at least his would allow players to explore together without having a bunch of ships and give crew members something to do.
Not much to discuss, I think this is one of the better ideas I've heard.
They would only need to redo a UI interface and I'm sure someone will suggest the holy grail of "mini-games" to do some of these tasks. If the UI could be handled well, this would be a good option.
It would also have to be easy to adjust the foe strength. In some ways a crew like this might be better than a single player, but the instances should not treat that single ship as 5 players in the instance.
A 5 man mission with more than one ship crewed like this? Increase team size for this play, but a problem on ground missions (as they are now).