Credit goes to Dale Byers for the idea, Gaile Connolly (love your bio!) for the presentation of it, Chase Ashley a strong proponent of it, someone else for the bulleted facts, and Deborah Pate for exposing it to me. All I'm doing here is running with their ideas!
First, some history - Deborah mentioned it here, and I quickly recognized its excellence, especially at cleaning up Ancestry imports. So I presented it here and in a free space page, ONLY to find out the idea behind it was well known and well discussed (embarrassing, no!?). Gaile had already presented it in the 'Ultimate Solution' thread, where it had been thoroughly discussed. More discussion is here and a great tutorial on tags here. I strongly recommend reviewing Gaile's work, and the full discussion.
Whether you call the method References First or Ultimate Solution or Dale's system or something you like better does not matter. It's all about gathering the sources into one place, and only inserting named references in the biography. References First refers to putting them first, at the top before the Biography, whereas the Ultimate Solution puts them in the Sources section, before the <references /> line. Either way is fine, although putting them at the top allows you to put them in the order you like, while putting sources in the Sources section makes more sense to many.
In WikiTree's Edit mode, embedded references make a bio look very cluttered, hard to read, and unorganized (even if it's well organized). The References First method is not perfect, but almost completely cleans up the bio, makes sourcing MUCH easier, and self-organizes the whole thing. Plus, when applied to Ancestry GEDCOM imports, completely cleans them up, easier and faster than any other method.
Basically, the difference is that instead of copying the citation into the text of the bio, you copy it to the top of the bio, before the "== Biography ==" line, then name each one, and refer to it whenever necessary by that name. This allows you to organize them chronologically at the top (or by any system you like), and removes all of the clutter from the bio text. You can still add items in the "Sources" section, but don't need to, as every single source can be grouped at the top. They won't display at the top, only at the bottom in the Sources section, just as they always have.
How you order them or format them at the top is up to you, as there are a number of ways to customize them. Deborah did them one way, I did them a little differently, and the examples show other styles. I liked Deborah's use of bold (see the profile that she did, in Edit mode, for her naming and her use of bold), although I preferred a simplified version, with less typing. See Mary Lavender's profile for a way to add the corresponding facts to them. And yes, I don't doubt you can do better! I always enjoy seeing others' ideas.
Seeing is often more important than telling, so here are some examples. Make sure you view them in both normal and Edit mode!
In normal viewing mode, you may notice the line of references across the top, above the bio. That doesn't bother me at all, but if it bothers you, add <span class="hidden"> before the first reference, and </span> after the last reference, and the line of reference numbers will not be visible. You can see it in the examples above.
Ancestry imports are still hard, no way around that, but this method makes them manageable, and leaves both the bio and the Edit mode clean and readable, presentable. I have created a page that presents the 'References First' method, and presents how I clean up Ancestry GEDCOM imported profiles using the method. The page also includes some tips and details for using the method.
I'd love to hear of other's ideas, I'm sure it can be improved.