Its kind of complicated to explain newbies, that they should create also reference list if they want to see or add references. In fact in normal practice references are automatically on the end of the text (scientific articles, books) and just numbers in the text. In Wikipedia its mostly vice versa and thus confusing. With this feaute it would ease the work of not only newbies and their mentors, but also skilled editors, who may need less "clicks".
Perhaps VE should show a warning instead, when the first reference is added, like "Please remember to add a reference section." (+ instruction about how to do so) that should persist until the user actually inserts a <references /> section, either directly or via a template.