Regarding ZD being 'dead' or 'dying'. Per usual, it's worth distinguishing between the site and the message board. The actual website, from 2013 to 2014 had virtually identical numbers. 2015, based on current numbers, looks like it might be slightly ahead of 2014. Decline from 2013 to 2014 was less than 2%, and from 2014 to 2015, looks like it will be up 2-4% based on my current estimates.
The forums, we had a huge drop-off from 2012-2013 to 2014. However, year over year at the forums is down only 10% for posts per month. I think I attribute that to the decline in new membership and overall engagement. I think a lot of Zelda fans just use the front page, the Facebook page, or other new Zelda communities such as the Reddit/Zelda page. I don't know what the numbers are at Zelda Universe, but I wouldn't be shocked if they too had a similar 10% drop in forums from last year. Glancing at the Zelda Informer forums from time to time, they were quite active a few years back, but their forums seem like they are not very active anymore. I think their fanbase has also heavily moved to site comments and Facebook.
At this point, I don't think closing the Zelda Dungeon forums is worth discussing, considering it still does get 3,000 - 7,000 posts per month. It's not nearly the numbers we got back in 2011-2013 at the forums, but it's still a notable forum activity level in my opinion.
I don't think there is as much drama now as there was a few years ago, but I think the percentage of overall posts that are drama-related has probably increased.