I saw on a website's feedback widget that provides a rating scale using a combination of '-' and '+' symbols to replicate a five point rating scale. Even though it is not common practice to indicate the rating to the scale directly (e.g. 0 can be a positive or negative rating depending on how you order the scale), in this case I actually found it quite intuitive as to what rating I am providing without thinking about the scale itself.
Even with the common star rating you have to think about what each number means to make sure you provide the right input.
Are there other people with experiences using alternatives to the numbered or starred rating scale? Is there any research or anecdote to suggest that this might be more user friendly?