There is no GamerGate. Not really. There are several amorphous bunches of people who hang around on some forums. There's a similarly amorphous bunch of people who use a twitter tag, often for wildly differing reasons. There are a handful of internet petitions. There's a fictitious mass-movement that some juvenile "supporters" have imagined up because it makes them feel good. And there's a fictitious shadowy, sinister organisation that a bunch of equally juvenile opponents have imagined up because it gives them a convenient straw man to attack. Really, nobody comes out of this well.
During my postgrad years (so going back to the start of the last decade now), I had two online roles back to back which gave me a fair amount of visibility to a lot of angry people online. First, I was the head admin of a major European Counter-Strike league. Then I was an oper (and one of the public-facing ones rather than the backroom code-tweakers) on a very large European-based IRC network. Both of those roles involved telling angry people things they didn't want to hear. Things like "somebody in your clan was caught cheating, you are now banned" or "no, I will not gline somebody just so you can have your usual nick back".
And so, on a pretty much daily basis, people threatened to kill me. They were going to find out where I lived and kill me, or maybe track down my parents and kill them or maybe rape my grandmother or my sister (I don't have a sister, but hey), or whatever, or something, or they just hoped I got CANCER or AIDS and would go away and DIE. To be honest, I suspect anybody who's done a similar role (or worked in customer service in certain types of company) also gets similar on a daily basis.
Were the people making those threats good people? Hell no. Even the fact that they were angry doesn't excuse behaviour like that. But what did I do about it? In the Counter-Strike role, if they clan wasn't already banned from the league, then it sure was the moment they made death threats. In the IRC role, it takes only a few seconds to apply a gline and suspend accounts with network services, but the warm fuzzy feeling that follows can last an hour or more. Did I ever actually feel in danger? Did I ever feel I needed to call the police? Hell no. Talking shit online is, unfortunately, pretty much as old as the internet itself and I had no particular political axe to grind.
So yeah, immature idiots on one side and professional grievance-mongers trying to inflate trash talk out of all proportion on the other. Nobody comes well out of this, for the most part.
Actually, the one thing that did strike me about this was how much the whole thing was a product of the indie gaming community. Almost every AAA publisher or developer out there either stayed silent or distanced from it as quickly as possible (which was the only sensible course of action). 2014 is really feeling like the year AAA gaming got smart and indie gaming got dumb.