I want to know - when learning to trade, do you guys go in depth and try to fully understand the math behind the indicator or just try to understand how to use a given indicator with an assumption that since it is a popular indicator the math is well worked out ?

Is it required to understand how the indicator exactly works in order to trade well on this ?

Would you say that knowing the math of the indicator is required to formulate a strategy based on the indicator ? Or the indicator itself is the crux of the strategy so you just need to know the usage of it ?

[I]I think it’s more about the trader than the method itself.[/I]

Some people require an understanding of the detail of how things work, where others are more content to try something by copying it, without being concerned about the detail of exactly what it’s measuring and calculating and displaying, and why and how. (How those people decide what settings to use is anyone’s guess!).

That’s not true for me, at all.

I don’t really understand how people can tell which indicators are worth examining and experimenting with, without knowing the details and what they’re supposed to signify.

It seems to me ([I][U]very[/U][/I] personal, idiosyncratic perspective about to emerge here! :8: ) that without [I]some[/I] mathematical understanding of how they’re calculated, and exactly what they’re displaying, one would have no realistic way of distinguishing between indicators that display something worth looking at (such as Ichimoku or MACD, provided one understands the settings) and nonsensical things that are just totally fictional and arbitrary and about as sensibly-based as astrology (like “Fibonacci” and “Elliott waves”, though I suppose that last one isn’t really an “indicator” [I]per se[/I]).

It is required to know the signals every indicator gives you. You need to understand when an oscillator gives a buy or sell signal or furthermore a negative or positive divergence.

I guess there is no need to understand the indicator itself. If you are doing well with any indicator then just carry on with your trading. You will only complex your trading if you go into understanding the indicator itself.

You can’t use anything properly not exactly knowing how it really works. If you do not know how to drive, then sooner or later you will get crashed. Unless you use an indicator like ADX or least square moving average where math gives no real understanding, you should understand what kind of data an indicator uses, what it measures and what it actually indicates.