The lazy load references feature was added alongside the lazy image in August 2016. Since then it has sat in beta for a period of 3 years without any work.
The main blockers for promoting it were around the slowness of the references API that we created.
Reasons to remove it:
- 3 years and no activity
- It uses the mobile view API which we'd like to deprecate
- It's buggy and significant work is needed to complete it (see subtasks of goal task)
- We're supporting it with a lot of code
- It complicates our refactor project
Sign off steps
Test on beta cluster.
- Find articles with reference links on them e.g.  on https://en.m.wikipedia.beta.wmflabs.org/wiki/China and click them - make sure the reference displayed is the correct one.
- Test the same for a reference inside a section that can be collapsed.
- Opt into beta mode and check the references continue to work