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Dear Sir:

1) Unfortunately, no. Assigning different actions (set rating/unset rating) to single key will add too much complexity.

For example, if you've selected two files, one with 5-star rating and one with 1-star and use '5' key to assign 5 stars, what should happen with file already having 5 stars? Should it return back to previous state?

2)

A: 1-second notification: FRV has this (in Lightroom style): Preferences - XMP - Ratings & Labels - Visual feedback for rating/label change.

B: floating panel: you can drag XMP Metadata Panel from dock area to image area, than use Gear menu - Opacity to change opacity.

Also, you may turn on Rating/Label indication in bottom bar via Menu - File - Customize - Customize bottom bar