A dystopia is when the government or ruling party wants its populace to act a certain way by restricting access to information and promoting certain values through force.
I think this definition is what makes a dystopia for me. Merriam-Webster definition of dystopia is maybe a bit too opinionated. To you and I the lives of characters in dystopias may seem “wretched” and “chaotic” but we use our society as a frame of reference when consuming dystopic media. So of course, we are going to say that because our society is nothing like theirs. To understand these types of societies you must view them from the perspective of the average person and not from the protagonist. Many of these people were born and raised under these conditions, and a lot of them do not see anything wrong with what is going on because this is all they have known. While the protagonist may be able to go through the same things that everyone else does and can break away from the line of thinking does not change the fact that there are still millions of people who still believe in what has been drilled into them.
To get through to them one must show them that what they have been taught is not the only way of doing things, a lot of time this task falls to the protagonist. But to get a populace to this point you will see a lot of ruling bodies put laws and rules in place that restrict information and competing ideas. You’ll see them do this a lot of times because it is much easier to insert control over them when they are unable to find access to any ideologies that conflict with the beliefs that they’re trying to put in place. This, to me, is one of the most defining aspects of a dystopia because of how prevalent it is in a lot of dystopic media. Regardless of the setting, the people don’t fight back because they don’t know that there is another way.