It does seem kind of intentionally-vague. I suppose that's so the DM and players can determine how much wackiness they want to inject into the campaign. Perhaps there will be more guidance for this in the DMG, when it comes out.
Like most things that are left up to DM discretion, this is something that the DM and players should discuss ahead of time, preferably before anybody rolls up a wild magic sorcerer. It's important that the player knows what the rules are, even if they're totally arbitrary.
Some options that would make sense to me:
- Roll after every spell cast
- Roll for a surge only when the sorcerer is under stress somehow
- Roll for a surge only when it's potentially important to the story
Rolling for surges after every spell cast seems a bit extreme to me, given the chance of a TPK for some of those results, especially for a group of low-level characters. On the other hand, the really nasty results are a small chance, on top of the small chance of surging in the first place, so unless you had two unlucky rolls in a row...
I like the second and third versions, especially if you can work them into the character's background and personality. Maybe they're more-likely to surge when someone they care about is being threatened, or when their hit points are low, or whenever they're affected by a condition.